Stevens storms into MVP top five
Stevens storms into MVP top five

Darren Stevens has stormed into the top five of the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings on the back of his extraordinary MVP of the Match performance against Glamorgan at Canterbury.

The 45-year-old displayed all of his enduring class throughout an astonishing knock which saw him blast 190 from just 149 balls against the Welsh side, including 15 sixes.

Stevens’ 190 accounted for 62% of his side’s first innings total of 307, with no other batsman passing 43, and combined with his strike rate of 127.5 led to a huge MVP points total of 50.2 for this week.

It brings the Kent man’s cumulative MVP points total for the season up to 175.6, enough for him to move from outside last week’s top 10 and straight into fifth position this week.

It was a second MVP of the Match award of the season for Stevens, who was also his side’s outstanding performer during Kent’s opening fixture of the season against Northamptonshire, when he scored 32.9 MVP points.

Whilst Stevens stole most of the headlines, the other big mover during a rain-affected round of LV= Insurance County Championship fixtures was Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott.

The fiery seamer ran through Leicestershire’s middle-order at the Ageas Bowl, removing the Foxes’ number four, five, six and seven batters as the away side were skittled for just 84 in the first innings.

Abbott also took the solitary wicket in a curtailed second innings, allowing the South African to take home 37.8 MVP points and move up from eighth to fourth position in the County Championship MVP.

Ahead of Stevens and Abbott, Matt Critchley moves back up into the top three on the weekend when he took his 100th First-Class wicket, reigning Overall MVP Simon Harmer remains second, whilst Somerset man Craig Overton stretched his lead at the top after running through Gloucestershire’s top-order to claim figures of 4-16 before the game at Bristol was prematurely called off.

Elsewhere, Nottinghamshire’s Luke Fletcher continued his excellent season as he posted the highest individual MVP points total of the weekend during his side’s innings and 170-run victory over Worcestershire at Trent Bridge.

Fletcher, who claimed career best figures a little over three weeks ago, repeated the feat in claiming 7-37 this time around, including removing five of the Pears’ top six as they were all out for 80 in response to the home side’s 400-5 declared.

The 32-year-old went one better this week as he claimed 10 wickets in a professional fixture for the very first time, inspiring an individual MVP points total of 52.2 and Nottinghamshire’s third victory on the bounce as they moved top of Group One.

Other MVP headlines included a fixture to remember for Derbyshire’s Ben Aitchison. The youngster claimed a first professional five-fer, finishing with figures of 6-28, as he scored 38.7 MVP points to claim the MVP of the Match award at the Incora County Ground.

Aitchison moves 46th in the MVP Rankings and has proven himself as one to watch in future seasons.

Whilst Aitchison is just starting out in his cricket career, veteran Essex seamer Peter Siddle also enjoyed a memorable fixture as he claimed his 800th career wicket in taking 6-38 against Warwickshire.

Siddle, 36, scored 31.2 MVP points to earn the MVP of the Match award during his landmark outing.

From a batting perspective, Rory Burns (44.4 MVP points) and Tom Abell (33.5) both made hundreds, with Abell winning the MVP of the Match award for his side.

The England opener is now amongst the top five batters in this season’s MVP, averaging 16.2 points-per-game, whilst the Somerset captain moves up to 13th and is threatening to break into the top ten.

The MVP was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to identify the top performers in the game. Relaunched in 2021 with assistance from cricket’s leading analytics experts CricViz, the algorithm takes into account key match-defining contributions on top of traditional batting and bowling averages to give the most accurate picture of the best performers in the game.

An MVP will be named for each domestic competition throughout the season, as well as a cross-format Overall MVP come the end of the campaign.


 
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