Liam Dawson captains team of 2023 decided by PCA MVP Rankings
The full schedule for the 2023 Vitality Blast was announced today, with the new season starting on Saturday 20th May as Edgbaston hosts Vitality Blast Off. Hampshire Hawks, who won last year’s competition, will be hopeful that they can produce yet another memorable season as they look to retain their crown.
With fourteen group games to come next summer, we have taken a look at which teams stand in the Hawks’ way of back-to-back Vitality Blast titles.
Somerset: Wednesday 24 May (A), Wednesday 7 June (H)
To open their 2023 campaign, the Hawks travel to Taunton to take on Somerset – who they have met in the last two Vitality Blast semi-finals. Somerset were triumphant in the 2021 semi-final before losing out in the final to Kent Spitfires.
Last season, the two faced off three times. In the second game of last season’s competition, Somerset were triumphant at The Ageas Bowl as James Vince’s side went on to lose their opening four games.
However, during their remarkable turnaround, the Hawks then won the reverse fixture thanks to a magnificent 129 not out from captain Vince – the highest individual score by a Hampshire player in T20 cricket.
Then, in the semi-final at Edgbaston, Tom Prest’s career best 64 was followed up by a brilliant display with the ball and in the field as the Hawks booked their place in the final.
After the opening day meeting, Somerset will then make the trip to The Ageas Bowl two weeks later.
Middlesex: Friday 26 May (H), Tuesday 6 June (A)
The first Vitality Blast home game at for Hampshire Hawks in 2023 comes against Middlesex. It will be the first of two T20 double-headers with a Southern Vipers’ Charlotte Edwards Cup fixture.
It is a repeat of the 2022 curtain raiser where the visitors spoiled any opening day celebrations to be had by The Ageas Bowl crowd as they won by ten runs. Middlesex have fond memories of the ground as it was the venue where they won their one and only T20 title in 2008.
Again though, the reverse fixture last season at Radlett came when the Hawks’ form had dramatically improved. Following some impressive bowling, especially from Liam Dawson (3-14), Vince and fellow opening batter Ben McDermott made the most of the short boundaries to put on the highest ever T20 opening partnership for Hampshire.
McDermott’s innings of 83 from just 30 balls was particularly impressive. It came with five fours, nine maximums and at a strike rate of 276.7.
The Hawks will be looking for a repeat performance when they revisit Radlett this year.
Surrey: Wednesday 31 May (H), Sunday 18 June (A)
Surrey will be the next team to visit The Ageas Bowl as they arrive for the second T20 double-header, with the game coming after Southern Vipers take on Thunder.
Although Surrey played no part in Finals Day last season – after they were beaten in the quarter-final by Yorkshire Vikings – they still proved themselves as one of the strongest teams in the tournament. They finished top of South Group, winning ten of their fourteen games, and were the only team to do the double over the Hawks.
Firstly, at the Kia Oval, the home side sentenced the Hawks to a fourth defeat on the bounce, before edging them out in a tighter match at The Ageas Bowl.
The Hawks will be out to prove that they were worthy champions when they meet again in 2023.
Essex Eagles: Friday 2 June (A), Friday 23 June (H)
Next on the schedule for the Hawks is an away match in Chelmsford to take on the only other team to progress to the quarter-final in 2022, Essex Eagles.
The 2019 champions lost to eventual runners-up Lancashire Lightning at that stage last season but were a strong outfit nonetheless and won their home fixture against the Hawks during the group stage.
However, when they were welcomed to The Ageas Bowl later in the competition they were well beaten, with all-rounder James Fuller taking a four-wicket haul.
The Eagles will play again at The Ageas Bowl towards the business end of the 2023 season.
Sussex Sharks: Saturday 3 June (H), Friday 16 June (A)
The ‘el clasicoast’ fixtures are always some of the most anticipated when it comes to releasing the new schedule and this year is no different.
To begin with Sussex will make the short trip over to The Ageas Bowl at the start of June, before the Hawks are welcomed to Hove for the return fixture.
In the first ‘el clasicoast’ of last year’s competition, the Hawks bounced back from their poor start to record their first win of the campaign, kickstarting a run of five straight victories. Vince and McDermott were once again crucial as both put together scores in the sixties.
The skipper also impressed when they met again in the final group game as he recorded another half century, while Chris Wood, Brad Wheal and Mason Crane all took two wickets apiece to secure the win.
Kent Spitfires: Friday 9 June (A)
2021 champions Kent had a campaign to forget last season, finishing bottom of the South Group.
Their visit to The Ageas Bowl was a memorable one for many though with James Vince providing yet another memorable performance. He recorded an impressive century, while Prest provided a half-century of his own, to give the Hawks a 54-run win.
They meet just once again this year and the Hawks will be the away team this time around.
Gloucestershire: Tuesday 20 June (A), Sunday 2 July (H)
As with last season, the Hawks meet Gloucestershire twice in quick succession in 2023. The first meeting will come at The Seat Unique Stadium.
In the same fixture last season, the Hawks came out on top with some vital bowling at the death proving enough to squeeze out the victory.
The home match that followed soon after brought the same outcome and, it was again came down to the skill of the bowling attack with Dawson and Nathan Ellis both boasting economy rates under 5.0.
2023’s visit from Gloucestershire could be a decisive one as it marks the final group stage match.
Glamorgan: Friday 30 June (H)
Glamorgan are the final team that the Hawks will play in the 2023 group stage, welcoming them to The Ageas Bowl in their penultimate game.
The two sides met at Sophia Gardens in 2022. Scores in the forties by Vince and Joe Weatherley, as well as a cameo from young Toby Albert were highlights with the bat. Before Brad Wheal stole the headlines, taking figures of 5-38 as he recorded a maiden five-wicket haul in the T20 format.
The best way to catch Hampshire in action all year long in 2023 is with a Hampshire Cricket Membership.
2023 Members also receive access to an exclusive allocation of tickets for next summer’s England Women’s Ashes ODI against Australia and the otherwise sold-out England Men’s ODI against New Zealand, alongside a whole host of other exciting benefits.
For more information on Hampshire’s Membership offering please follow the link below.
Vitality Blast Passports – which offer admission to all seven T20 matchdays at The Ageas Bowl in 2023, including the double-headers with Southern Vipers – are now on sale at the discounted Super Early Bird rate of just £99 – and what’s more those fans securing theirs at the Super Early Bird rate will also receive a free ticket for a guest to use at the Hawks’ first home match on Friday 26 May.
Liam Dawson captains team of 2023 decided by PCA MVP Rankings
Hampshire all-rounder Liam Dawson has been rated the PCA’s Most Valuable Player of the Year
Read the match report & hear reaction from Hampshire's LV= Insurance County Championship match against Surrey at The Ageas Bowl