Cricket fever swept the nation with England’s World Cup win at the weekend, and there’s no rest for the wicked as the excitement continues with the domestic T20 Blast campaign getting underway this week.
Worcestershire Rapids took the crown last year having defeated Sussex Sharks in the final at Edgbaston, but the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket could see a number of sides challenge for the title.
Our betting expert previews the 2019 campaign, and gives you the best bets to look out for.
Sussex to go one better?
Sussex will be smarting from being last season’s nearly men and look set to go close once again.
Spin king Rashid Khan was a success last season, and despite a poor World Cup for Afghanistan he’s back to spearhead the Sharks’ title bid, while they have also recruited cleverly in the shape of Australian wicketkeeper batsman Alex Carey off the back of a strong World Cup showing.
Laurie Evans was a revelation with the bat last term, ending as the top scorer in the tournament, and with that in mind, they are 6/4 to reach Finals Day in September and that looks well worth snapping up.
Bowling firepower could see the Eagles fly
Essex suffered a torrid season last year, winning just two games in their group, however, they look to have come back strong and hold a leading chance once again.
With the recruits of Aussie duo Peter Siddle and Adam Zampa, as well as Mohammad Amir their bowling line-up looks set to be one of the most feared in the competition – and that isn’t even considering rising star Jamie Porter as well and skipper Simon Harmer.
Cameron Delport adds much-needed batting power in the line-up, with the South-African born player and Ravi Bopara shouldering much of the responsibility when it comes. A bet on the Eagles to reach the final four at 3/1.
Strong-looking Surrey to go all the way?
Surrey on paper look to have the strongest chance of all though, and in Aaron Finch they have a world-class batsman capable of causing havoc.
On top of that they have the wily Imran Tahir who should provide plenty of wickets, while there is also England World Cup winners Jason Roy and Liam Plunkett.
Even if they end up losing a few players due to the little tournament called the Ashes, they have the likes of Ollie Pope, Gareth Batty, Morne Morkel, Mark Stoneman and Rory Burns in reserve who are more than capable in this format.
They are 8/1 to win the whole tournament, and 8/5 to progress to Finals Day, and I would be prepared to back the former as they search for their first T20 win since the inception of the competition in 2003.