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Moeen set for Blast action

Moeen Ali is thrilled to have the chance to play in Worcestershire’s first home quarter-final in the NatWest T20 Blast this Friday – and hoping to help the Rapids reach Finals Day at nearby Edgbaston for the first time.

England’s Head Coach Trevor Bayliss was keen to make all the Ashes heroes available to play for their counties in this week’s quarter finals, which will all be shown live on Sky Sports beginning on Wednesday when the 2013 champions, Northants Steelbacks, head to the south coast to face Luke Wright’s Sussex Sharks.

Birmingham Bears, the holders, take on Essex Eagles at Edgbaston the following night, before Moeen rejoins the Rapids for a tough home game against the renowned T20 specialists Hampshire – which is set to be a sell-out at New Road.

“I’m really pleased that I can play in the Blast quarter-final at Worcester on Friday,” Moeen writes in his exclusive blog for ecb.co.uk. “We’ve never had a home quarter-final before, and it’s a great chance to get back to Edgbaston for Finals Day. I can’t wait to play again.”

Moeen was top of Worcestershire’s batting averages in the North Group with 238 runs in six innings, as well as taking five wickets.

Moeen Ali has starred with the bat for Worcestershire Rapids during this season's NatWest T20 Blast

Ian Bell and Alastair Cook are also available to Birmingham and Essex respectively for Thursday’s quarter-final, although it will be down to the counties whether they are selected.

England are also happy to allow Lancashire and Jos Buttler to decide whether the wicketkeeper should play in the last quarter-final on Saturday when the Lightning, who were beaten finalists at Edgbaston last August, face Kent Spitfires in Canterbury. James Anderson will not play as he continues to receive treatment to his side strain after his inclusion in England’s squad for the fifth Investec Test against Australia at the Kia Oval.

England’s 14-man squad will convene for that game on Monday week (August 17), meaning the players will not be available for the closing stages of the group matches in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

The Blast quarter-finals are also set to feature several members of England’s one-day and T20 squads – David Willey for Northants, Reece Topley for Essex, James Vince for Hampshire and Sam Billings for Kent.

NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals:

Wednesday 12 August – Sussex Sharks v Northants Steelbacks

Thursday 13 August – Birmingham Bears v Essex Eagles

Friday 14 August – Worcestershire Rapids v Hampshire

Saturday 15 August – Kent Spitfires v Lancashire Lightning

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