The 2019 T20 Vitality Blast opens with a blockbuster clash between the two most recent champions on Thursday 18 July.
Tickets for the game are available for £10 in advance for adults, and can be purchased here.
A powerful Notts Outlaws side with title aspirations will host the reigning Blast winners, Worcestershire Rapids, themselves boasting considerable firepower.
And a closer look at the two sides' victorious seasons shows that they share a number of qualities which helped to propel them to glory.
Score quickly at the top of the order
The high-octane nature of T20 cricket means no time for a batsman to play his way in.
Every dot ball builds the pressure on the batting side, and even a run a ball can seem like a scoring rate from a bygone age.
Both of the most recent T20 champions have made a virtue of bursting out of the traps with the bat, with Alex Hales bludgeoning 507 runs at a strike rate of 204.43 in 2017, ably supported by Riki Wessels’ 559 runs at a rate of 151.49.
Moeen Ali’s innings in 2018 were also frequently statements of intent, the England all-rounder’s 334 runs coming at a strike rate of 175.78.
Build big partnerships
Martin Guptill may have endured a difficult Cricket World Cup with the bat, but his century in a 162-run partnership with Joe Clarke ensured Worcestershire made light work of chasing 197 against Northamptonshire in the 2018 Vitality Blast group stages.
This was one of two sizeable stands shared by Rapids batsmen last year, with Moeen Ali and Callum Ferguson putting on 135 for the second wicket in a winning cause against Notts at Trent Bridge.
In their 2017 title-winning campaign, Notts were no strangers to sapping the energy of opposition bowlers with game-changing partnerships, notching four stands of over 100 during the tournament.
Riki Wessels and Brendan Taylor amassed 153 for the third wicket against Derbyshire, while the Outlaws also posted stands of 132 (Taylor and Samit Patel v Birmingham), 126 (Wessels and Alex Hales v Durham) and 104 (Wessels and Hales v Leicestershire).
Have an in-form bowling attack
The Blast may be seen as a batsman’s format, but both most recent champions have been able to call on bowlers who believe in attack as the best form of defence.
Contributions from throughout the ‘cartel’ led Notts over the line in 2017, with Jake Ball (22 wickets at 19.45) and Harry Gurney (21 wickets at 23.80) recording wicket-taking totals which were only bettered by Leicestershire’s Clint McKay.
And with Gurney returning in green and gold this season having honed his limited-overs bowling against the best players in the world in the BBL and IPL, the left-armer will be hoping for an even better return this year.
For Worcestershire, meanwhile, there was clear daylight between Pat Brown and any other bowler in the competition last season.
The 20-year-old paceman belied his lack of experience by taking 31 wickets at 13.35 – six more than anybody else.
Get the home crowd on your side in a quarter-final
In his recent interview with trentbridge.co.uk, Outlaws T20 skipper Dan Christian described the Trent Bridge crowd as a ‘twelfth man’ for his side, and there have been few better demonstrations of this than when over 12,000 helped to haul the home side to a success in a tight quarter-final battle with Somerset.
The New Road faithful were equally partisan 12 months later, the home side overcoming Gloucestershire by five wickets in the penultimate over.
Score heavily against your local rivals
When Worcestershire set Birmingham Bears an unassailable 210 to win in last year’s clash between the West Midlands rivals at Edgbaston, they were following the template laid down by Notts the previous year of batting your opponents out of the game in a local derby.
Moeen Ali, skippering the side and opening alongside current Notts man Joe Clarke, cleared the ropes seven times in a brutal knock of 115 that proved beyond the reach of the home side.
A year earlier, the Outlaws had taken the opportunity to sap morale amongst their own nearest rivals by scoring heavily.
Riki Wessels, now with the Rapids after moving in the opposite direction to Clarke last winter, provided the impetus that took Notts to the highest score in T20 Blast history, his 54-ball 110 laying a platform for the Outlaws to notch 227-3.
And although Derbyshire would come within six runs of a famous chase, the weight of runs scored by Wessels, Brendan Taylor and Dan Christian proved too much to bear.
Have Luke Wood in your set-up
The Notts left-armer secured his second successive T20 title when he was part of the Rapids side which triumphed over Sussex at finals day in 2018, after being part of the Outlaws squad which went all the way in 2017.
And the 23-year-old has been far more than a mere lucky charm, taking crucial wickets in Notts’ wins over Durham and Northants in 2017, and setting the tone for the Rapids’ success with an economical opening spell at Finals Day in 2018.
A Notts Outlaws squad brimming with international talent will commence their T20 Vitality Blast campaign against Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge on Thursday 18 July, with adult tickets priced at £10. Secure your seats…