Nine breakout stars from the T20 Blast group stage
@Yas_Wisden 4 minute read
In a campaign interrupted by more international call-ups than most, and with the IPL taking away a handful of players towards the backend of the group stages, swathes of younger, less experienced cricketers were handed opportunities to showcase their talent in the 2020 T20 Blast.
Here’s a look at nine players who made the most of those opportunities and enjoyed breakout seasons in the competition:
Will Jacks (Surrey)
267 runs @ 38.14; SR: 153.44
6 wickets @ 26.16; ER: 6.72
Despite still only being 21, Will Jacks has already made 82 senior appearances across all three formats for Surrey. While he has shown glimpses of his talent before – he scored 121 as a teenager in just his third List A game over two years ago – this Blast campaign has seen him consistently put together a string of impressive, match-winning performances for the first time. Compared to Jason Roy by Surrey Academy coach Neil Stewart back in 2018, Jacks’ canny off-breaks have been used to good effect by the South Group winners, too.
Jake Lintott (Birmingham Bears)
10 wickets @ 18.90; ER: 6.30
Jake Lintott, one of the few left-arm wrist-spinners seen in county cricket over the last few years, had an unconventional route into first team cricket. Lintott, now 27, had played just four professional first team games prior to the 2020 summer and since 2017, has been working as a cricket coach at an independent school in Taunton. Handed an opportunity for Birmingham Bears this summer, he has taken it with both hands, finishing as the fourth most economical bowler of the group stages [of anyone to bowl in more than one game].
Will Smeed (Somerset)
94 runs @ 18.80; SR: 117.50
Will Smeed’s overall numbers may not look like anything to get too excited about, but his 49-ball 82 in just his second professional game suggested the arrival of a talent worth keeping an eye on. Batting at three in Somerset’s pursuit of 204, the 18-year-old almost single-handedly kept his side in the contest against a Gloucestershire side who ended up topping the Central Group.
Matty Potts (Durham)
13 wickets @ 18.07; ER: 7.34
Economical and a nagging wicket-taking threat, 21-year-old Durham quick Matty Potts was one of the seam bowlers of the group stage. A bowler capable of regularly hitting the 85mph-mark, Potts was the driving force behind Durham’s late, ultimately unsuccessful push for a quarter-final spot, taking three consecutive three-fors in Durham wins.
Prem Sisodya (Glamorgan)
10 wickets @ 23.20; ER: 6.44
A former England U19 player, Prem Sisodiya, now 21, was an ever-present for Glamorgan in their Blast campaign, finishing as their most economical bowler with his left-arm spin. Often deployed in the powerplay, Sisodiya was one of Glamorgan’s more consistent performers as they finished two points off a potential quarter-final berth in a congested Central Group.
Luke Hollman (Middlesex)
139 runs @ 35.75; SR: 139
9 wickets @ 18.11; ER: 6.79
A teammate of Sisodiya at England U19 level, Luke Hollman was arguably the find of the competition. A leg-spinner all-rounder, Hollman regularly impressed with both bat and ball. In a two-run victory over Kent, Hollman blasted a 26-ball 46 from No. 6 and followed that up with miserly figures of 0-15 from his two overs in an otherwise high-scoring affair. Middlesex have generally struggled in white-ball cricket in recent years, but the emergence of Hollman and other youngsters this summer, Joe Cracknell and Martin Andersson among them, should offer them some optimism for the future.
Dan Moriarty (Surrey)
14 wickets @ 17.35; ER: 6.75
The joint leading wicket-taker in the group stage with a handy economy rate to boot, Dan Moriarty has been a revelation for Surrey – alongside Notts, the most dominant side in the competition so far. In his first season of first team cricket, Moriarty was consistently frugal, rarely going for much more than a run a ball.
Dan Mousley (Birmingham Bears)
101 runs @ 50.50; SR: 126.25
The most accomplished of the England batsmen on show at this year’s U19 World Cup, Dan Mousley was only selected for three of Birmingham Bears’ T20 Blast fixtures but made quite the impact when he did get a go. In the Bears’ agonising final-day defeat to Northants, Mousley put on a world-record 171 for the fifth wicket alongside Adam Hose to help the home side recover from 20-4 and post an imposing first innings score of 191-5. Batting at No.6, Mousley also contributed with a more than useful 40 in Birmingham’s 16-run victory over local rivals Worcestershire earlier in the tournament.
355 runs @ 41.87; SR: 158.01
A potentially cheeky inclusion on this list given that Zak Crawley already had a Test match 267 to his name before this year’s Blast, but the 22-year-old did enjoy a breakout tournament in the T20 format. His hundred against Hampshire was one of the innings of the group stages and his regular quick starts at the top of the order contributed to Kent’s qualification for the last eight. While England’s top-order riches in white-ball cricket are well-documented, if Crawley continues this form you wonder how soon it’ll be before he breaks into the England T20I and ODI set-ups.
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