The group stage of the 2021 T20 Blast has come to a close, so it’s time to look back on some fine individual showings.
We’ve put together a balanced XI featuring the best young players in the competition – all of them began this year’s tournament aged 24 or under.
Phil Salt (wk) – Sussex
10 matches, 266 runs @ 38, SR: 152.87
Sussex’s second-highest run-scorer this season, the 24-year-old England opener’s pyrotechnics have helped seal a fourth-successive Blast quarter-final for the county.
Zak Crawley – Kent
9 matches, 326 runs @ 36.22, SR: 159.80
Since a tough Test series against New Zealand in June, Crawley has put aside his red-ball troubles and thrived in limited-overs cricket. Alongside an unbeaten half-century on his ODI debut, the 23-year-old’s 326 runs in the Blast have helped Kent advance to the last eight.
Finn Allen – Lancashire
13 matches, 399 runs @ 33.25, SR: 159.60
The 22-year-old New Zealander has caught the eye in his first stint as a county pro – only four men have made more Blast runs than him this year. He doesn’t die wondering at the top of the order: after a 37-ball 66 against Northants earlier this month, he made the same score a week later against Durham off just 28 deliveries.
Will Jacks – Surrey
12 matches, 393 runs @ 35.72, SR: 170.12
After thriving with both bat and ball in Surrey’s run to last year’s final, Jacks hasn’t lost momentum this year. His strike rate with the bat is particularly staggering, while his off-breaks remain nice and tidy: 21 overs in the group stage resulted in an economy rate of 6.71.
Glenn Phillips – Gloucestershire
12 matches, 500 runs @ 55.55, SR: 163.39
Harry Brook – Yorkshire
12 matches, 485 runs @ 80.83, SR: 150.15
Only Josh Inglis and Phillips hit more runs in the Blast group stage than Brook, who is having a fine year in both red- and white-ball cricket. Brook’s standout innings was in a Roses clash, with his unbeaten 50-ball 91 – which included 10 fours and three sixes – setting up a nine-run win.
Dan Douthwaite – Glamorgan
12 matches, 15 wickets @ 19.60, ER: 8.48 | 203 runs @ 20.30, SR: 153.78
A seam-bowling all-rounder who can give the ball a tonk, Douthwaite finished his Blast campaign as both Glamorgan’s leading wicket-taker and six-hitter.
Calvin Harrison – Nottinghamshire
14 matches, 18 wickets @ 13.94, ER: 6.78
The 23-year-old leg-spinner has been a revelation for Notts – no-one has taken as many wickets in this year’s Blast at a lower average or economy rate. Having initially signed for the Trent Bridge side in June on a three-month contract, Harrison earned a two-year extension to his deal earlier this month.
Blake Cullen – Middlesex
12 matches, 20 wickets @ 16.35, ER: 8.79
Middlesex’s 19-year-old quick made his T20 debut just a little over a month ago, but inexperience has not been a barrier to success. Only Naveen-ul-Haq has taken more wickets in this year’s competition, with Cullen’s Blast form leading to a place in The Hundred as a Wildcard pick.
Naveen-ul-Haq – Leicestershire
14 matches, 26 wickets @ 17.57, ER: 8.67
The leading wicket-taker in the competition by six dismissals, the Afghan quick made a fine impression in his first season as a county cricketer. He constantly made breakthroughs for Leicestershire – the 21-year-old took at least two wickets in each of his last five group-stage matches.
Sam Cook – Essex
13 matches, 20 wickets @ 18.25, ER: 7.82
Another bowler who has landed a Wildcard deal in The Hundred after impressing in The Blast. This has been a breakthrough season in T20 cricket for a bowler who has delivered with the red ball for quite some time.