The Vitality Blast, known since 2014 as the t20 Blast, is a professional Twenty20 cricket competition for English and Welsh first-class counties. The competition was established by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2003 as the first professional Twenty20 league in the world.
The competition consists of the 18 first-class county teams divided into two divisions of nine teams each with fixtures played between 4 July to 15 September 2018.
Nottinghamshire Outlaws were crowned the champions of the 2017 edition after they defeated Birmingham Bears by 22 runs in the final.
The North Division consists of Derbyshire Falcons, Durham Jets, Lancashire Lightning, Leicestershire Foxes, Nottinghamshire Outlaws, Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Birmingham Bears, Worcestershire Rapids and Yorkshire Vikings.
The South Division has Essex Eagles, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent Spitfires, Middlesex, Somerset, Surrey and Sussex Sharks.
During the group stage each club plays six of the other teams from the same division twice, once at a home stadium and once at a home ground of the opposition team. They play the other two teams only once, this constitutes for a total of 14 matches for every team. Teams receive two points for a win and one point for a tie or an abandoned match.
Teams are ranked within their divisions by total points and net run rate (in case two or more teams have same points). At the end of group stage, the top four teams from each group enter the knockout stage of the competition. The knockout stage consists of four Quarter-Finals, two Semi-Finals and a Final match that decides the winner.
Three matches are scheduled to start the tournament on 4 July with Essex taking on Sussex in the South Division clash while Nottinghamshire lock horns with Warwickshire in the North Division.
The finals of the Vitality Blast 2018 is scheduled to commence on 15 September at the Edgbaston stadium in Birmingham.