With the t20 format gaining momentum all over, the cricket scene seems to be planning out trendy championship leagues with squads backed by stalwart players from all across the world. The NatWest T20 Blast is one of the latest additions to the power-packed celebration of T20 cricket which is about to shoot off from this year. The NatWest T20 Blast 2014 is under the administration of England & Wales Cricket Board and would be played in varied esteemed stadiums in UK. It’s going to be a 3 month long affair- The tournament is scheduled to start on May 16 and would finalize on August 23. NatWest T20 Blast is replacing Friends Life Twenty20 championship. The NatWest T20 2014 Blast will start off on May 16. There will be 5 matches on the inaugural day- 3 from North Division and 4 from South Division. The matches would be played at Riverside Ground, Headingley Ground, Bristol’s County Ground, Grace Road, Trent Bridge, The Rose Bowl & Sussex’s County Ground. 4 of these matches would start at 16:30 GMT, while the 5th one would start from 17:30 GMT and the last two at 18:00 GMT.The last of the group match is on July 25, 2014. There will be 4 quaterfinal matches, on 1st August, two matches on 2nd August and the 4th one is on 3rd august. The first semi-final will start from 11:00 GMT, followed by the 2nd semi-final at 14:30 GMT and the final is at 18:45 GMT. The two semi-finals and the final match would be held at Edgbaston Ground, Birmingham.
The NatWest T20 Blast 2014 will proceed through Group Stage matches followed by Knockout Stage- that would include the Quarter finals, semi-finals and the final match. The teams have been divided into North & South divisions with equal distribution of squads in each category. Given the round-robin format of the NatWest T20 Blast, every participating squad would have to play 6 other squads in the group matches, both away & home. The other 2 teams will face only once. The top-ranked 4 squads from every group would qualify for knockout-stage- a 3-round single-elimination championship.
The NatWest T20 Blast 2014 is going to be a huge affair no doubt with as many as 18 contesting squads and esteemed players from all the major cricket nations. The 18 teams have been categorized into North Division & South Division, with 9 teams is each of the groups.
The North Division teams include-
- Birmingham Bears which would be led by English captain Jim Troughton.
- Derbyshire Falcons would be headed by South African player Wayne Madsen
- Durham Jets would be headed by English captain Paul Collingwood.
- Lancashire Lightning would be led by English player Glen Chapple.
- Leicestershire Foxes would be captained by Josh Cobb from England.
- Northamptonshire Steelbacks would be captained by Alex Wakely from England.
- Nottinghamshire Outlaws would be led by English captain James Taylor.
- Worcestershire Rapids would be spearheaded by English captain Daryll Mitchell.
- Yorkshire Vikings would be led by Andrew Gale from England.
The South Division teams include-
- Essex Eagles would be led by English captain James Foster.
- Glamorgan would be headed by Australian player Jim Allenby.
- Gloucestershire Gladiators would be led by Australian player Michael Klinger.
- Hampshire would be spearheaded by James Adams from England.
- Kent Spitfires would be led by English player Robert Key.
- Middlesex Panthers is captained by Eoin Morgan from England.
- Somerset is led by English player Marcus Trescothick.
- Surrey would be headed by former South African captain Graeme Smith.
- Sussex Sharks would be led by Irish player Ed Joyce.
The different stadiums where the tournament would be played are Riverside Ground (Chester-le-Street), Headingley (Leeds), County Ground (Bristol), Grace Road (Leicester), Trent Bridge (Nottingham), The Rose Bowl (Southampton), County Ground, Hove (Sussex), Lord’s (London), Old Trafford (Manchester), County Ground (Taunton), County Ground (Northampton), Edgbaston (Birmingham), County Ground (Derby), County Ground (Chelmsford), Merchant Taylors’ School Ground (Northwood), New Road (Worcester), Sophia Gardens (Cardiff), Kennington Oval (London), St. Lawrence Ground (Canterbury), Arundel Castle (Arundel), Old Deer Park (Richmond) and Castle Park Cricket Ground (Colchester).
The NatWest T20 Blast 2014 tickets are available for sale online now. There are a wide lot of online ticket sites offering passes from the first match till the final.