T20 Blast: Yorkshire, Durham, Notts and Northants seek Finals Day glory

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Are you ready for T20 'Blast' off?
NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day
Venue: Edgbaston Date: Saturday, 20 August Start: 11:00 BST, final at 18:45
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC local radio, plus live text commentary throughout the day on on the BBC Sport website

Cricket. A gentleman's game. Exquisite cover drives. Polite applause. Correct footwork.

All still part of the sport we love, but on Saturday they take a back seat. This is T20 Blast Finals Day.

Hairy men dressed as cheerleaders, beer snakes, ramp shots over the wicketkeeper's head, length balls being dispatched over cow corner, fireworks both on and off the field - the showpiece event at Edgbaston will have it all.

The gun players are also back - England quintet Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Stuart Broad and Alex Hales and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell just some of the names looking to fire their respective sides to glory.

Yorkshire Vikings, Durham Jets and Nottinghamshire Outlaws are all aiming to win their first title, while Northamptonshire Steelbacks want to add to their 2013 crown.

BBC Sport assesses the chances of the four teams.

Cheerleader Edgbaston
Just one of the many 'sights' at last year's Finals Day

Semi-final 1: Nottinghamshire Outlaws v Northants Steelbacks (11:00 BST)

Nottinghamshire Outlaws

Most runs: Riki Wessels - 396Most wickets: Samit Patel & Harry Gurney - 16
Highest total: 185-8 v LancashireHighest score: Riki Wessels - 80*

Analysis - BBC Radio Nottingham's Dave Bracegirdle:

"Having got one monkey off their back by winning their first quarter-final in five attempts, Notts Outlaws will now be hoping to go on and remove another.

"Frequently touted as tournament favourites before a ball is even bowled, the Outlaws are yet to lift the domestic T20 crown and have only made Finals Day on two previous occasions.

"Their route to Edgbaston took a dramatic de-tour before they located the right postcode for their sat-nav. Defeats in their opening two matches, rain, rain, rain and more rain, as they lost four contests to the weather, Notts suddenly found a way to win.

"Eight consecutive successes - a county record - saw them top the North Group. On each occasion they confidently chased down their target, but in the quarters they showed the other side of their game by taking pace off the ball to defend a moderate target.

"Full of confidence - and with England's Alex Hales and Stuart Broad in the squad - they'll be hoping this is their year."

Key player - Samit Patel

Samit Patel Infographic

"Samit Patel is Nottinghamshire's 'Mr T20'. The all-rounder holds county records for most appearances, most runs and most wickets - but more importantly, he is usually the one that the county turn to in times of crisis.

"The higher the stakes, the more prominent a role Patel will usually take. Send a television crew to cover the Outlaws and almost certainly it will be the gifted 31-year old who will step up to the plate.

"During the qualifying stages his opportunities to shine were limited, as is often the case going in behind the likes of dangerous hitters such as Michael Lumb, Riki Wessels, Dan Christian and co, but when needed he promptly delivered a match-winning 58 in a crucial game against Yorkshire.

"His slow left-arm spin has picked up 16 wickets in this year's competition, at an economy rate of just six - and his 4-20 turned the quarter-final against Essex."

T20 history: This will be Nottinghamshire's third Finals Day having been runners-up to Leicestershire in 2006 and lost to Somerset in the semi-final in 2010.

Northamptonshire Steelbacks

Most runs: Ben Duckett - 389Most wickets: Richard Gleeson - 14
Highest total: 200-5 v BirminghamHighest score: Adam Rossington - 85

Analysis - BBC Radio Northampton's Alex Winter:

"Once again Northamptonshire are at Finals Day. And once again there are quite a few analysts scratching their heads as to how they did it. The answer is that they are the most T20-focused county in the country with a clear strategy and players with defined roles - most of them returning from last year's run to the final.

"Northants enjoyed a wonderful start to the group stage that helped them easily reach the quarter-finals where a near-perfect display demolished Middlesex.

"Their batting is built around a number of power hitters throughout the order; they find plenty of boundaries, particularly at their small Wantage Road home, and their bowling attack covers almost all bases with pace, craft and at least three spin options."

Key player - Graeme White

Graeme White
Graeme White has taken a total of 63 wickets in T20 cricket during his career

"Enjoying the best summer of his career, White fine-tuned his left-arm spin during a winter spent playing in Australia and has become a very canny operator, varying flight and pace cleverly to take regular wickets with the white ball.

"He played a key role in Northamptonshire's run to the 50-over One-Day Cup quarter-finals and took the best figures by a Northants spinner in a one-day match: 6-37 against Lancashire.

"In the T20 Blast he has taken 12 wickets at 22.33 and his bowling takes on even greater importance in the absence of Sri Lanka leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna."

T20 history: Northants, champions in 2013, reached the final last year where they lost out to Lancashire.

Semi-final 2: Yorkshire Vikings v Durham Jets (14:30 BST)

Yorkshire Vikings

Most runs: Alex Lees - 272Most wickets: Tim Bresnan - 20
Highest total: 223-6 v DurhamHighest score: Joe Root 92*

Analysis - BBC Radio Leeds' Dave Callaghan

"County champions Yorkshire have had a dramatic passage to Finals Day. At the start of the 2016 campaign Yorkshire looked out of sorts and with little hope of progressing to the latter stages.

"Defeats against Leicestershire, Worcestershire and Lancashire suggested another year of under achievement in the short form of the game.

"In early July things changed dramatically as a series of hard-fought wins over Lancashire, Birmingham Bears and two against Northants saw Yorkshire qualify for the last eight.

"At Cardiff they thumped Glamorgan by 90 runs in the quarter-final and now look to be serious contenders."

Key player - David Willey

David Willey infographic

"David Willey is a T20 specialist and has played a huge part in helping Yorkshire to progress. The former Northants all-rounder opens the batting for Yorkshire and the bowling. He is a livewire in the field and a real inspiration to his colleagues. Willey was the match-winner at Cardiff with a sparkling 79, including six sixes.

"He admits to loving T20 saying 'it is a real fun part of the summer'. However, it is not funny if you are up against this fine cricketer.

"I expect him to play a big part in the day and he could be a potential match-winner."

T20 history: For all their success in the four-day game, Yorkshire are only appearing at their second Finals Day. In 2012 they lost in the final to Hampshire.

Durham Jets

Most runs: Mark Stoneman - 328Most wickets: Scott Borthwick & Paul Coughlin - 17
Highest total: 193-2 v DerbyshireHighest score: Calum MacLeod - 83

Analysis - BBC Newcastle's Martin Emmerson:

"How did Durham reach T20 Finals Day? I am still scratching my head over that one.

"It has to be down to their home form. Other than a tiny blip against Lancashire towards the end of the group stages, they won all of their other matches (which weren't affected by the rain), including a game against Yorkshire in late June.

"Their poor away form, just one win this season at bottom side Lancashire, continues to astound in its haplessness though. It stretches way back into last season's campaign which made it more astounding they beat Gloucestershire away in the quarter-final and in such fine style too."

Key players - Ben Stokes & Mark Wood

Ben Stokes Durham
Stokes has a batting strike rate of 133.64 in Twenty20 cricket

"There are no real T20 stars at Durham. When it works it generally means the openers have had a good day and the team has gelled well. When it doesn't it generally means the openers have failed and left the bowlers with little to defend.

"I think things will be different this time around though and they are boosted by England duo Mark Wood and Ben Stokes' availability.

"Having allowed Phil Mustard to leave for Gloucestershire a few weeks ago they have lost their talismanic opening batsman. With him went 18 half-centuries and more than 3,000 runs. He's the only player to have done that at one club. In the wake of the news Mark Stoneman is leaving for Surrey next season, he seems to have been playing with a new-found freedom though.

"But it continues to baffle me why Scott Borthwick bats so far down the order in this format.

"Can they win it? Yes. They have beaten all of the other semi-finalists this season. However, Durham and Yorkshire have alternated winners in each of their last six matches and following the Tykes' win in Leeds last time out it now appears to be Durham's turn again."

T20 history: Like Yorkshire, Durham have only been to Finals Day once in the competition's 13-year history. In 2008 they went out in the semi-final to eventual champions Middlesex.

Domestic T20 - previous winners
2003: Surrey2008: Middlesex2012: Hampshire
2004: Leicestershire2009: Sussex2013: Northants
2005: Somerset2010: Hampshire2014: Birmingham
2006: Leicestershire2011: Leicestershire2015: Lancashire
2007: Kent

Compiled by BBC Sport's Gary Smee.