Steelbacks to host Worcestershire Rapids in Blast opener
Northants Steelbacks will start their 2021 Vitality T20 Blast campaign with a home clash against Worcestershire Rapids under the County Ground floodlights on Friday, June 11.
It is the first of 14 group games for the Steelbacks in the Blast, with group stages running from June 9 to July 18, with the quarter-finals to be played between August 24 and 27.
After last year's temporary switch to three regional groups, the competitions returns to north and south sections, with the Steelbacks taking on their usual opponents Durham, Lancashire Lightning, Yorkshire Vikings, Notts Outlaws, Worcestershire Rapids, Birmingham Bears, Derbyshire Falcons, and Leicestershire Foxes.
Finals day will be staged at its traditional Edgbaston home on Saturday, September 18.
As well as this summer's Blast schedule, the ECB also announced the groups and fixtures for the Royal London One Day Cup, which returns this summer having been a scrapped last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was an open draw for the groups, and in this competition the Steelbacks have been placed in Group B and will take on Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Glamorgan, Yorkshire, Surrey, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire and Somerset.
They will play eight group games between July 22 and August 12, with four at home and four away, with the tournament set to played at the same time as The Hundred, which is launched this summer.
The top four from each group progress to the quarter-finals, which will be played on August 14, with the semis on August 17 and the final at Trent Bridge on August 19.
As a warm-up for the One Day Cup, the Steelbacks will also travel to take on Bedfordshire in a one-off match on July 20.
It is hoped that spectators will be allowed in to watch cricket for both competitions, but nothing can be guaranteed.
Also, women’s domestic cricket is set for a notable summer with the staging of the Regional 50 over and T20 competitions in addition to the launch of The Hundred.
A total of 41 female players have signed professional domestic contracts ahead of the summer to further establish the elite pathway for female cricketers.
ECB managing director of county cricket, Neil Snowball, said: “The stage is set for an exciting and important summer of domestic cricket for the first-class counties and the women’s regional teams.
“I know how much county members and supporters eagerly anticipate the release of fixtures and I am pleased that we have been able to plan a complete schedule for men’s and women’s cricket.
“The Vitality Blast has established itself as a much-loved tournament while the return of the Royal London Cup, alongside the remodelled County Championship for this season, will be warmly welcomed as we all look forward to the summer.
“I am also delighted that we will shortly release the schedule for the women’s Regional 50 over and T20 competitions.
"These competitions will not only showcase the deepening pool of talent in women’s cricket, but also further strengthen the professional pathway for our female players.”
STEELBACKS FIXTURES 2021
Steelbacks Vitality T20 Blast Fixtures 2021
Friday, June 11: Steelbacks v Worcestershire Rapids, County Ground
Sunday, June 13: Steelbacks v Notts Outlaws, County Ground
Tuesday, June 15: Steelbacks v Birmingham Bears, County Ground
Thursday, June 17: Derbyshire v Steelbacks, Derby
Friday, June 18: Worcestershire Rapids v Steelbacks, New Road
Sunday, June 20: Steelbacks v Leicestershire Foxes, County Ground
Wednesday, June 23: Durham v Steelbacks, Emirates Riverside
Friday, June 25: Steelbacks v Lancashire Lightning, County Ground
Saturday, June 26: Yorkshire v Steelbacks, Headingley
Tuesday, June 29: Leicestershire Foxes v Steelbacks, Grace Road
Wednesday, June 30: Steelbacks v Durham, County Ground
Friday, July 9: Lancashire Lightning v Steelbacks, Old Trafford
Friday, July 16: Steelbacks v Derbyshire, County Ground
Sunday, July 18: Birmingham Bears v Steelbacks, Edgbaston
Royal London One Day Cup Fixtures
Warm-up match: Tuesday, July 20: Bedfordshire v Steelbacks, venue TBC
Sunday, July 25: Steelbacks v Glamorgan, County Ground
Wednesday, July 28: Yorkshire v Steelbacks, Scarborough
Friday, July 30: Surrey v Steelbacks, Kia Oval
Sunday, August 1: Steelbacks v Derbyshire, County Ground
Friday, August 6: Warwickshire v Steelbacks, Edgbaston
Sunday, August 8: Steelbacks v Somerset, County Ground
Tuesday, August 10: Nottinghamshire v Steelbacks, Grantham
Tuesday, August 12: Steelbacks v Leicestershire, County Ground