Vitality Blast South Group Round-Up – Week 1


The 2024 edition of the Vitality Blast might only be seven days old, but it has already treated us to the twists and turns that have made it such a well-loved competition over the years.

In particular, the South Group has again proven itself to be fiercely competitive, and the first of a series of weekly round-ups around the grounds finds seven of the nine teams locked on equal points.


Surrey currently lead the way at the summit as the only side to win all of their games so far, with the Brown Caps sitting on six points, four clear of Kent Spitfires.

For their part, it is the Canterbury outfit’s vastly superior run rate, obtained from a crushing win over Middlesex in their opening game, that separates them from the other members of the two-point pack.

That group, which, in addition to the Spitfires, includes Essex among five other teams, is entirely split by net run rate, with Gloucestershire and Glamorgan making up the remainder of the top four.

The other sides, Hampshire Hawks, Sussex Sharks, and Somerset, alongside the Eagles, all have negative net run rate, but none are in as sticky a situation as basement side Middlesex.

After a humbling campaign last year that saw them lose their first ten straight games, the Seaxes are the only South Group side yet to record a win in 2024.


Essex’s very own Michael Pepper is the only batter in the 2024 competition so far to record a century, with the Harlow-born man’s first Essex ton being blazed off 44 balls against Middlesex.

The Eagles are showing their batting prowess by having Dean Elgar and Jordan Cox in the top five South Group run-scorers with 110 and 100 respectively, as well as Pepper’s total of 108.

However, it is Surrey’s Jamie Smith who leads the way overall having amassed 193, which have been scored at an average of 64.33 and a strike rate of 207.52.

Smith already has two fifties from his three innings so far, and is top of the six-hitting charts with 17, clear of Cox and Pepper, who both have six maximums.

Pepper’s century is, naturally, the highest score of the week, beating out Max Holden’s unbeaten 85 from 49 deliveries for Middlesex in the same game and Smith’s 87 off 38 against Somerset, also on Sunday.


Meanwhile, it is another man with a connection to Essex who leads the way with the ball, with Eagles Academy graduate, and current Sussex Sharks captain, Tymal Mills having claimed eight scalps.

He leads the way from Gloucestershire’s Matt Taylor and Tom Curran of Surrey, who have taken seven and six wickets, respectively, while six others have picked up five apiece.

He already has two four-wicket hauls, with four other South Group bowlers having done that once, namely Taylor and his teammate David Payne, Kent’s Matt Parkinson, and Somerset’s Ben Green.

In a piece of symmetry that will delight cricket badgers, speedster Mills’ average and economy rate both stand at exactly the same impressive figure of 7.25, giving him the best South Group average.

Meanwhile, it is Colin Ingram of Glamorgan who possesses the best economy rate so far at 5.00, ahead of the 5.75 per over achieved by spinners Liam Dawson of Hampshire, and Parkinson.


30 May: Gloucestershire (142-5) beat Essex (141-9) by five wickets
Hampshire Hawks (162-9) lost to Surrey (163-5) by five wickets

31 May: Glamorgan (181-7) lost to Surrey (200-8) by 19 runs
Somerset (197-6) beat Essex (193-6) by four wickets
Middlesex (107 all out) lost to Kent Spitfires (205-8) by 98 runs
Sussex Sharks (168-7) beat Gloucestershire (167-8) by three wickets

02 June: Hampshire Hawks (166-7) beat Kent Spitfires (165-9) by three wickets
Glamorgan (183-7) beat Sussex Sharks (158-6) by 25 runs
Essex (207-6) beat Middlesex (203-7) by four wickets
Surrey (163 all out) beat Somerset (106 all out) by 57 runs


06 June: Middlesex v Glamorgan (Lord’s)

07 June: Gloucestershire v Hampshire Hawks (Seat Unique Stadium)
Kent Spitfires v Somerset (Spitfire Ground St Lawrence)
Surrey v Sussex Sharks (Kia Oval)
Essex v Glamorgan (The Cloud County Ground)

09 June: Gloucestershire v Sussex Sharks (Seat Unique Stadium)
Somerset v Hampshire Hawks (Cooper Associates County Ground)
Kent Spitfires v Middlesex (Spitfire Ground St Lawrence)

11 June: Middlesex v Somerset (Lord’s)

The Eagles Have Landed: The 2024 Vitality Blast at The Cloud County Ground

Fresh from a Finals Day appearance last summer, Essex are now back in shortest-format action in Chelmsford for 2024.

Demand remains exceptionally high, and there are now less than 10% of tickets available across the six remaining home fixtures, with two already sold out.

With the Eagles aiming to go one better in 2024, there is no time to waste to snap up your seats.

Friday 07 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Glamorgan – buy here (LAST FEW TICKETS)
Friday 14 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Sussex Sharks – SOLD OUT
Thursday 20 June, 7:00pm: Essex v Hampshire Hawks – buy here
Friday 05 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Somerset – SOLD OUT
Thursday 11 July, 7:00pm: Essex v Kent Spitfires – buy here
Sunday 14 July, 2:30pm: Essex v Surrey – buy here