Somerset have set the gold standard among counties for streaming their games, and have had to find a way to manage an influx of traffic after the signing of Babar Azam.

Ben Warren, Somerset's digital marketing executive, had to upgrade the club website's server capacity after their first game of the Blast, a win at Glamorgan that was not streamed live, as fans in Pakistan were so desperate to follow their star batsman's progress.

But the change appears to have been worthwhile: their home defeat against Sussex last weekend, in which Babar made 83, attracted over 1.5 million views on YouTube.

It remains a source of frustration for several clubs that due to the technicalities within the broadcast deal between the ECB and Sky, streams on YouTube have to remain 'unlisted' - meaning they do not show up in the search bar, and have to be found via hyperlinks.

It may seem like a minor difference, but counties are convinced they are missing out on substantial traffic because of it, and hope that after consultation with the governing body, a change will be implemented ahead of next season.

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Lancashire have stormed to the top of the North Group thanks to Glenn Maxwell's runs, Liam Livingstone's all-round exploits, and a bowling attack which offers genuine pace and high-quality spin.

They could be forgiven for looking forward to the quarter-finals already, but the knockouts pose a real conundrum for them. The quarter-finals are scheduled for the same week as the Old Trafford Ashes Test, which gives Lancashire a headache if they finish in the top two.

As reported on Saturday, the club are in discussions with the ECB as to their potential options - Sky would struggle to show a game at any of their outground options, and they will be loath to give their opponents home advantage, so a neutral venue might be an avenue worth exploring.

Further, it has emerged that Maxwell will be unavailable if they are to reach Finals Day, as he will be returning to Australia in time for the start of the domestic season, with James Faulkner likely in a similar position.

Article 3.5 of the ECB's regulations on player registration - commonly known as the "Bravo Rule", since it was introduced after Dwayne Bravo's ill-fated Finals Day appearance for Essex in 2010 - means that a potential replacement for the knockout stages would have to have played at least one group game, meaning Lancashire would likely go in without an overseas player.

And while Jos Buttler is usually available for Finals Day, he may well be made unavailable by England this time around after a hectic summer. Lancashire are flying high, but could soon be in danger of suffering from vertigo.

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Durham are set for a scrap to reach the quarter-finals for a second year running, a sentence which must have seemed improbable at the start of last season.

What they lack in high-profile names - D'Arcy Short and Peter Handscomb are the only real stars - they more than make up for with wholehearted contributors, which is perhaps epitomised best by their unlikely death-bowling duo.

Nathan Rimmington, the diminutive 36-year-old Australian seamer who plays on a British passport, has combined with 20-year-old Matty Potts to great effect so far, and the pair find themselves leading the way among regular death bowlers.

Rimmington's economy rate at the death is 7.01, and his 59 balls in overs 16-20 have brought only four boundaries, while Potts has an almost identical record to last year's breakout star Pat Brown - both have conceded 65 runs in 48 balls at the death, though Brown has one wicket more.

There is another improbable face just behind Rimmington, in Ravi Rampaul, who is quietly enjoying a stellar Blast for Derbyshire, while Tom Helm (12.22) and - surprisingly - Harry Gurney (11.00) find themselves at the wrong end of the rankings.

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Wayne Parnell is best known for his left-arm seam and a feisty on-field attitude, though he is not completely without pedigree with the bat.

He had regularly been deployed as a pinch-hitting opener by Cobras, his domestic team in South Africa, and before the start of last week, had batted in every position from Nos. 1 to 11 in T20, except one.

As if to try him out in the only role he was yet to have a go at, Worcestershire promoted him to No. 4 for their run chase against Derbyshire. And the risk paid off in some style: he belted 81 not out off just 46 balls to see them home, before adding an 18-ball 27 in the win against Yorkshire two days later.

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Gloucestershire were left fuming on Sunday, as their attempts to defend 159 against Sussex were derailed by a six-run penalty applied due to their slow over-rate.

The main sources of contention appeared to be the umpires taking some time to confirm Luke Wright was out, after a boundary-rope catch by AJ Tye, and a lost ball, with Michael Klinger convinced his side had not been given sufficient extra time in which to bowl their overs.

It meant Sussex only needed eight from the final over rather than 14, which Delray Rawlins knocked off easily enough. Gloucestershire allrounder Benny Howell risked sanction from the ECB by tweeting afterwards: "Such an unfortunate end to a great day and exciting game. The umpires need to be held accountable for costing us a potential 2 points."

Even that controversy, though, could not take the shine away from a memorable occasion, as both teams wore specially-designed shirts to raise awareness for the charity Grief Encounter.

Tom Smith, the Gloucestershire and ex-Sussex spinner, lost his wife to a rare form of liver cancer in 2018, and the charity has provided him and his daughters with support and counselling since. For further details, visit www.griefencounter.co.uk/about-us