Spitfires to kick off One Day campaign
Spitfires to kick off One Day campaign

After two exciting rounds of County Championship cricket we turn our attention to the Royal London One-Day Cup.

There will be 76 Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures played over an intense four-week period as domestic red-ball cricket takes a back seat for the 50-over tournament.

Joe Denly was the standout performer during the 2018 tournament, finishing top of the One-Day Cup Most Valuable Player Rankings after his sublime individual displays took Kent to the final.

Kent eventually missed out at Lord’s against Hampshire, but it was Denly’s consistent individual displays that pushed him to 182 MVP points over the course of the summer resulting in the all-rounder being crowned PCA MVP for the tournament before picking up the overall MVP accolade at the PCA Awards.

The MVP formula was designed by the players to identify the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic and international season.

The innovation provides a more rigorous analysis of player performances than traditional batting and bowling averages. For example, runs gain more points if they are scored quickly or in low-scoring contests and top order wickets are judged more valuable than those that fall later.

Catches, run-outs and stumpings are also accounted for as well as bonus points for captains and players who are on the victorious side.

The first round of One-Day Cup fixtures starts on Wednesday with 12 teams in action. Last season’s competition winners Hampshire will start their campaign live on Sky Sports with a replay of the 2018 final as they face a Kent side that will be without Joe Denly and Sam Billings – due to their Indian Premier League commitments.

Nevertheless, Kent’s Heino Kuhn and Hampshire’s James Vince who finished second and third respectively in 2018 MVP Rankings will be looking to make a similar impact in 2019 to the one that made them so successful last season.

Currently topping the Overall MVP Rankings, Lewis Gregory, will be hopeful of maintaining his blistering early season form. The all-rounder currently has a healthy lead over Simon Harmer who occupies second place following his man of the match performance last time out against Surrey.

Gregory will have to wait until Friday to start his One-Day cup campaign, representing a good opportunity for Harmer and the rest of the chasing pack to make some ground on the early season leader.

The South-African all-rounder will be in action this Wednesday as Essex travel to Glamorgan for their opening fixture. Harmer will also have the support of last year’s sixth placed One-Day Cup MVP Ravi Bopara to count on as they look to progress further than the quarter-final stage where they were knocked out by Yorkshire last year.

The White Rose will begin their schedule with a home fixture against Leicestershire and will have England duo Adil Rashid and David Willey available, with third place MVP, Joe Root sadly unavailable due to England commitments. PCA rep Tom Kohler-Cadmore proved his worth with the bat last season finishing as the seventh placed MVP and will again be vital for Yorkshire in 2019.

Finishing as runners-up for three consecutive seasons between 2015-17, Surrey will against start 2019 as one of the teams to watch as they head to the Bristol County Ground to take on Gloucestershire.

Tom Curran and Liam Plunkett will be expecting big things in the 50-over format of the game this summer and will be part of a formidable attack that features Morne Morkel. Jason Roy will also be looking to start his summer with a bang as he prepares for an important summer with the bat ahead of the ICC World Cup.

Lancashire started 2019 with victory in their first outing again Middlesex in the County Championship and will be looking towards Australian powerhouse Glenn Maxwell and Keaton Jennings for inspiring performances in the One-Day Cup as they start at home to Worcestershire.

The Pears will be hoping their Australian overseas star Callum Ferguson can have a similar impact to last season with Ben Cox, Ed Barnard and Brett D’Oliviera also integral after they all featured in the top 20 of the One-Day Cup MVP Rankings in 2018.

Durham will start their limited overs season at home to Northants with both sides looking for their first victory of 2019.

With the 50-over World Cup starting in June, the intense One-Day Cup schedule could provide a key platform for a late push into England’s World Cup plans with the final international squad announced May 22.

This summer also represents the last opportunity for players to win the One-Day Cup at Lord’s with Trent Bridge to host the tournament showpiece from 2020 following the arrival of The Hundred.

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