End of the road for Trescothick?
5. The end for Tresco in T20?
Marcus Trescothick's emphatic return to form - he has just scored his fourth Championship hundred of the season - has been one of 2014's most heart-warming tales.
But it has not extended to the NatWest Blast. Trescothick mustered only 33 runs in six innings this season and, going back to the start of the 2012 season, has scored only 142 runs at 10.92 apiece. The offside crunches and nonchalant heaves over long-on, shown off during a 129-ball 133 against Durham hailed by Paul Collingwood as an innings that would be talked about "for the next ten years" have been absent in T20 colours. And they will continue to be so: Trescothick was omitted from Somerset's team on Friday; they beat Gloucestershire without him.
The decision hints at permanence, too. "We have decided to leave Marcus Trescothick out of the team," director of cricket Dave Nosworthy said. "Marcus has not been scoring as well as he would have liked to have in this form of the game and he has agreed that it is in the best interests of the team that he should be left out.
"This move will now allow him to focus on his Championship and 50-Over cricket," Nosworthy said. The T20 captaincy has been taken over by Alfonso Thomas for the remainder of the season.
Trescothick could perhaps be viewed as a victim of the new Blast format, and the demands on players to play a T20 game a day after a Championship match. Somerset are currently in the midst of a particularly nonsensical schedule: 11 consecutive days of cricket, including Championship matches in Uxbridge and Northampton, and T20 games at Southampton, Taunton and The Oval. He could hardly be blamed if he did not find that conducive to extending his sterling Championship scoring to T20.
4. The Fred factor
Round two was better than round one. At Grace Road, Andrew Flintoff took 3 for 26, showing that his yorker remained in fine working order. The first innings of his comeback was less impressive, ending on 1 to a self-described "horrendous shot". No matter: "I just can't stop smiling," he effused.
He wasn't the only one, either. "There was definitely a Freddie factor," Leicestershire chief executive Mike Siddall said. "Freddie probably put 500 on the gate - we'd love him at Grace Road every week! Our gate takings were the best of the T20 season and we sold a lot of beer as well."
With Flintoff obliging fans with autographs and photographs after the game, many Leicestershire supporters would have left unperturbed by the home side's defeat.
Lancashire's win means they have qualified for the quarter-finals. Based on the current tables, they will have a home draw against Surrey and Kevin Pietersen. Tasty.
3. Yorkshire's spin twins
The notion of spin twins is a stirring one for many cricketing romantics. That is especially true when, as in the case of Yorkshire, both players are homegrown. Azeem Rafiq and Adil Rashid have both been through tumult in their careers but they have combined superbly so far in the Blast this season, already sharing 25 wickets. Rashid's tale is familiar, but Rafiq's is just as interesting. He stood-in as Yorkshire captain, with considerable success, in T20 two years ago: quite a fear for a 21-year-old. His career has stuttered since - partly due to Rashid's resurgence. For all their T20 success, Yorkshire are still yet to partner Rafiq and Rashid in the Championship in 2014.
2. Ajmal's T20 farewell
His effect hasn't been as spectacular as in the County Championship, but Saeed Ajmal has also been magnificent in the Blast, taking 12 wickets at 19.75 apiece while going for only 6.07 an over. Ajmal signed off from this season's Blast with 3 for 17 at Edgbaston: he now goes to the Caribbean Premier League. His mystery and control - equally effective in and out of the Powerplay overs - have been instrumental in Worcestershire's rise to third in the North Division, and the Rapids will now fear submerging without him.
1 But don't forget another overseas offspinner…
In comparison to Ajmal, Jeetan Patel is a rather less exciting import: an offspinner who enjoyed a fairly nondescript career with New Zealand But no one at Warwickshire would dispute his worth, and Patel's gratitude in return was shown when he rejected the chance to tour the Caribbean with the Kiwis last month. His 2 for 17 helped Warwickshire trump Ajmal on Friday and snap a four-game losing streak: Patel now has eight wickets in his last three Blast games.