It’s English cricket’s most important T20 competition but how much do we know about the teams that take part in the T20 Blast?
How Many Teams are in the T20 Blast?
All 18 English county sides play in the T20 Blast. Some will add suffixes to their regular first class name while others will identify with their biggest city.
Over the years, names of certain counties have changed more than once but this map, and the detailed analysis, brings you right up to date.
T20 Blast Teams
Like all 18 teams on this list, the Birmingham Bears have been a part of the English T20 competition since its inception back in 2003. This was the first domestic tournament in the format and it started out as the Twenty20 Cup.
Birmingham were simply called Warwickshire Bears in those early days and they changed their name to reflect the Bear logo that appears on their badge. Throughout their history, the county has been known colloquially as ‘the Bears’ so the name change was a good fit.
Birmingham play the vast majority of their home games at their Edgbaston ground which cricket followers across the world will be very familiar with.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Warwickshire teams were one day specialists and they initially seemed set to carry that success over into the T20 form. Warwickshire, as they were known at the time, reached the very first T20 Cup final in 2003 but were beaten in that game by Surrey.
They would have to wait until 2014 before they won their first title as Birmingham Bears. They beat Lancashire Lightning by four runs in a thrilling game.
In total, Birmingham have been to four Finals Days. They have won just once and have been runner up in the Blast on two separate occasions.
The Falcons are one of the underperforming teams in the T20 Blast. Since making their debut in the 2003 competition, they have been to Finals Day just once. 2019 saw the Falcons enter the final four but they were defeated in the semi final on that day.
Incora are the club’s main sponsors and the Falcons play most of their home games at the Incora County Ground in Derby.
The club has a long history but Derbyshire aren’t one of the stronger teams in the English set up and they tend to struggle to make it beyond the group stage.
Their biggest rivalry is with Notts Outlaws who play just a few miles away along the A52 Brian Clough Way.
Durham are the newest English county side, having been admitted to the County Championship in 1992. However, they have also been playing in the T20 Blast since it began back in 2003.
Simply known as ‘Durham’ they are one of the more competitive teams in the competition and they reached their very first Finals Day in 2008. They were semi finalists that day but Durham became runners up in 2016.
They’ve yet to return to Finals Day but they are a consistent team who will always be competitive in the group phase. There aren’t too many rivalries but Yorkshire are their closest opponents and there’s always a good atmosphere when these teams meet.
Durham have a number of grounds that they like to use but most of their home games will now be played at the Riverside.
Essex Eagles play at a ground which has become known as ‘Fortress Chelmsford’. There is a hostile atmosphere awaiting visiting teams, especially Kent who are the Eagles’ biggest local rivals.
Essex have been one of the most consistent teams since the T20 Blast began in 2003 but they have only won the trophy once. The Eagles’ solitary appearance in the final came in 2018 when they beat Worcestershire Rapids by four wickets.
Success in recent years has come via consistent players such as Ravi Bopara and Ryan Ten Doeschate but both those men have moved on and Essex Eagles may struggle to replace them moving forward.
The only Welsh team in the county set up, Glamorgan are fiercely proud of their heritage. Known colloquially as The Dragons, they are officially referred to simply as Glamorgan for the purposes of this competition.
Since joining the tournament back in those early days of 2003, no Glamorgan side has ever lifted the T20 Blast trophy. They have been to Finals Day twice – in 2004 and 2017 – but have yet to make it beyond the semi final stage.
Glamorgan generally play at just one ground, Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, or the Swalec Stadium as it may be known for sponsorship purposes. Gloucestershire are their closest team but Glamorgan fans will see all English teams as rivals.
As the Gloucester Gladiators, this West Country team were one of the most consistent sides in the competition at one stage. They reached the very first Finals Day in 2003 and made it through to their first final four years later.
That final in 2007 resulted in defeat to Kent Spitfires and they’ve yet to reach the last two since that point. The club returned to Finals Day in 2020 but failed to make it beyond the last four.
The majority of home games have been played at the County Ground in Bristol and the club’s fans will see Glamorgan as their biggest local rivals.
Hampshire Hawks are one of a select group of teams who have won the Blast on two occasions and they were arguably the most consistent team for a decade from 2010.
That year saw the Hawks lift their first ever Blast trophy and they would go on to reach Finals Day on seven occasions in eight years from 2010. Under the shrewd captaincy of Dominic Cork, the Hawks won again in 2012 and were very much the ‘team to beat’ at that point. Hampshire made it to Finals Day again in 2021 but couldn’t get beyond the last four.
All home games are played at the Rose Bowl in Southampton which may also be called the Ageas Bowl for sponsorship purposes.
The Kent Spitfires won their second Blast title when Sam Billings and his side lifted the trophy in 2021. Prior to that success, Kent had won the competition for the first time when they defeated Gloucester Gladiators by four wickets in 2007.
As we have seen, the Spitfires’ great rivalry is with neighbouring county Essex and we can always expect a lively atmosphere when those two sides meet. Most of Kent’s home games will be played at the historic St Lawrence County Ground in Canterbury,
Along with those two wins, Kent were runners up in 2008 when they lost to Middlesex by just three runs.
As a team with a long history and some success in limited overs cricket prior to 2003, you might expect that the Lancashire Lightning have been strong in the T20 Blast.
They did reach the third ever final in 2005 but they would have to wait until 2015 for their first, and so far, only success in the tournament.
As a team that contained England stars such as Jimmy Anderson and Andrew Flintoff, that’s a little surprising. Lancashire Lightning play most of their home games at their iconic Old Trafford ground and their great rivals are Yorkshire, who they take on in the hard-fought Roses matches.
At the time of writing in 2022, only one team has won the T20 Blast on three separate occasions. With a strong unit led by Paul Nixon, Leicestershire Foxes became the most successful team in Blast history with wins in 2004, 2006 and 2011.
They were very much the early pace setters in this competition and Leicestershire teams appeared in the first four Finals Days from 2003 to 2006.
They haven’t been quite as successful since that point but will always play entertaining T20 cricket. Leicester play their games at the Upton Steel County Ground and also have a great rivalry with local opponents Nottinghamshire.
While playing as the Middlesex Crusaders, this London-based team first won the T20 Blast when they beat Kent in that dramatic final of 2008. The Crusaders were a strong team at that point but no Middlesex team has appeared in a final since.
In fact, Middlesex have gone on to become very poor in this competition and haven’t appeared in a Finals Day since 2008. The team play their home game at Lord’s and their closest rivals are another London team – Surrey.
The Steelbacks are a team that tend to perform better in limited overs matches than they do in the first class game. They’ve also won the Blast Trophy twice – in 2013 and 2016 – and remain competitive in their division.
Those successful teams included top class short form players such as Richard Levi and David Willey and the Steelbacks have struggled to replace them.
Games are played at the County Ground in Northampton while local rivals include Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
A team that has traditionally been strong in limited overs cricket, Notts Outlaws had to wait until 2017 before they won their first ever T20 Blast title. Another trophy followed in 2020 and they are one of the favourites in each edition moving forward.
With explosive batters such as Alex Hales and Joe Clarke, this is an entertaining and dangerous Notts side.
Expect to see Notts Outlaws in action at their historic Trent Bridge ground in Nottingham. There’s always a lively atmosphere here, especially on Friday nights when they take on local rivals such as Derbyshire or Leicestershire.
Playing as the Somerset Sabres, the West Country side made an early impression on the competition when they won the third edition in 2005. That team beat Lancashire by the comfortable margin of seven wickets and it contained top quality performers such as Marcus Trescothick.
No Somerset team has won the competition since but they may consider themselves one of the unluckiest sides in the Blast. From 2009 to 2011, they lost three consecutive finals.
Now known simply as Somerset, the team plays at the County Ground in Taunton and their nearest opponents and biggest rivals are Gloucestershire.
Surrey made history when their Lions team won the first ever edition of England’s T20 tournament in 2003. At the end of the 1990s and the start of the 2000s, they were the strongest domestic team in domestic limited overs cricket and they carried that success over into the new competition.
Surrey were runners up a year later in 2004 and they made it through to the first four editions of finals day. Success has been harder to come by since that point but the team were beaten finalists again in 2013 and 2020.
With the explosive Jason Roy at the top of the order, Surrey should continue to be competitive. The team plays most of its games at The Oval while neighbouring Middlesex are their great rivals.
The Sussex Sharks were one of the teams who brought heartache to Somerset when they beat them in the 2009 final. They were a strong team at that point and were able to include Luke Wright and Michael Yardy who were T20 World Cup winners with England in 2010.
Despite that strength, the 2009 win is the Sharks’ only success to date and they have only been back to Finals Day twice since then. The team play at the County Ground in Hove and local rivals include Kent and Hampshire.
The Worcestershire Rapids are a little adrift at their New Road ground but there is some rivalry with Gloucestershire and Somerset.
As for their record in the Blast, it was poor for the first 15 years of the competition until the county reached its first ever Finals Day in 2018. The Rapids would go on to win the trophy, beating Sussex Sharks by five wickets in the final.
The team were beaten finalists the following year and are strongly tipped to add to their trophy cabinet before too long.
Like their great rivals Lancashire, the Yorkshire Vikings are a team with a long history and a record of success in longer forms of limited overs cricket.
Despite that, the Vikings have a very poor record in the T20 Blast with no wins and just two appearances on Finals Day between 2003 and 2021. They came close in 2012 when they were beaten in the final by Hampshire by the narrow margin of ten runs.
Home games are played at Headingley which is currently known as Headingley Carnegie for sponsorship purposes. The Vikings remain competitive in all forms and will want to address those poor returns in the near future.