The Vitality T20 Blast has seen a resurgence this year – with the threat of a new competition starting in 2020, crowds have flooded in to the much maligned tournament, and the action on the pitch hasn’t disappointed.
After a hard-fought group stage, eight counties have made it through to the quarter-finals, which will be played this week.
Our cricket betting expert has taken a look at the best picks, and who might make it through to Finals Day.
Kent Spitfires v Lancashire Lightning
The first match of the knockout stages sees Kent play host to Lancashire in Canterbury.
Kent enjoyed a fine group stage in the south group, winning eight of their 10 completed matches, and but for rain, would have comfortably topped the pile.
Joe Denly has been in fine form with bat and ball, and in captain Sam Billings, they have as an exciting team as any.
Lancashire were a bit more hit and miss, but still did enough to get through. They’ll be missing hard-hitting skipper Liam Livingstone, though their spin heavy attack can cause trouble for anyone.
For my money, Kent look a better balanced side, and with home advantage, should be able to book their place at Finals Day.
Back the Spitfires at 8/11 with Grosvenorsport.com.
Durham Jets v Sussex Sharks
An incredible run of three wins in four days saw Sussex sneak into the quarter-finals, and a long trip to Durham for Friday’s game.
The Sharks have a bowling line up that wouldn’t look out of place in an international, with Jofra Archer, Tymal Mills, Chris Jordan and Rashid Khan arguably in the top few T20 bowlers in the world.
They’ll come up against a young, but well-oiled Durham outfit, expertly led by the canny Paul Collingwood.
They were shot out for just 78 by Lancashire in their last completed game, however, which could see Sussex’s bowlers licking their lips.
Momentum is everything in T20, and Sussex have it. Back their bowlers to fire them to Finals Day at 7/10.
Worcestershire Rapids v Gloucestershire
It’s a local(ish) derby as Worcestershire take on Gloucestershire in Saturday’s quarter-final.
Gloucestershire will have been disappointed to have only finished fourth in the south group, and lost their right to a home tie after consecutive defeats in the final two games.
Still, they have an explosive team with all-round talents, who will fancy their chances here.
Much of Worcestershire’s hopes may pin on Moeen Ali and whether he is called up by England – their star man scored 115 in the Rapids’ final T20 against Birmingham, before following that up with a Championship double-century this week.
Worcestershire are strong with the bat, but I fear their bowling is a little light.
I’m tempted by the 6/4 on Gloucestershire to come out on top here.
Somerset v Nottinghamshire Outlaws
Last year’s winners face a daunting trip to Somerset as they attempt to keep hold of the trophy.
Dan Christian’s men overcame Birmingham in the final in 2017, and will be looking to make another trip to Edgbaston – though it took a win in their last group game to make it this far.
That winner-takes-all match shows Notts’ pedigree in knockout competition – they lifted both one-day trophies last summer, and with Alex Hales firing at the top of the order, have the players to do it again.
Somerset are on some roll – winning seven games in a row before a dead rubber loss to Kent.
They’ve only lost one match in Taunton, and will hope home advantage will prove decisive once again here.
This is all set to be a thriller – but if I had to put my neck on the line, I think the big-match experience of Notts will see them through.
Back an away win at 10/11.
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