The quarter final line up this week is as follows
Tuesday Derbyshire v Hampshire
Wednesday Glamorgan v Leicestershire
Thursday Notts v Somerset
Friday Surrey v Birmingham
With seven matches remaining there have been 24 totals of 200+ in the T20 Blast this season, an English domestic record.
All prices quoted are from Bet365, all start times are BST
Derbyshire v Hampshire 6.30pm
Derbyshire finished second in the North Group, and it is their first time in the knockout stages for ten years and at the expense of teams like Northants, Yorkshire and Lancashire too. One of the smaller counties, they had struggled to compete in the market for overseas players but this season the arrival of Imran Tahir and Kolpak player Hardus Viljoen from South Africa has been part of a resurgence of fortunes in this format and they have combined for 31 wickets in the group stages. The main stand out players though have been domestic batsmen Wayne Madsen (with 522 runs) and Luke Reece.
Hampshire were one of the pre-tournament favourites, began very well, faded and then came again at the end of the group stages. They are a good all round team, with several Kolpak players that effectively mean they can play four non-domestic players and in Rilee Roussouw and Kyle Abbott they have very effective South African performers with bat and ball respectively. Captain James Vnce is their leading run scorer and spinners/slow bowlers have taken 39 wickets for Hampshire in the group stages with home games played on helpful slow dry pitches. It is likely to be less spin friendly in Derby
Derbyshire are home underdogs here, at Even money plays Hampshire 4/5. Because the conditions should be produced to minimise the threat of Hampshire’s slow bowlers, Evens looks an interesting price
Glamorgan v Leicestershire 6.30pm
Glamorgan topped the South Group and are another team with little in the way of a T20track record before this season. They too have seen prospects transformed by the arrival of Kolpak players, plus overseas pro David Miller. Colin Ingram has top scored and Hogan and De Lange have combined for 31 wickets and few domestic players have made match winning contributions
Leicestershire crept into fourth place in the North group with a last night two run victory over Notts. Two antipodean players Cosgrave and Rnchi have top scored with 401 each and Australian seamer Clint McKay has taken 22 wickets, supported by Pillans with 17
The battle between McKay and the top of the Glamorgan batting order is likely to be crucial in deciding this game.
I expect Glamorgan to win and they can be backed at 4/6 (Leicestershire 6/5)
Notts v Somerset 6.30pm
Notts topped the North group and have looked one of the teams of the competition right from the start with Hales and Wessels opening the order producing several match winning performances especially at Trent Bridge which has been the best batting pitch in the competition with scores of 220+ routine A bowling line up including Jake Ball, Harry Gurney and Samit Patel has done just enough through the group stages to defend these big totals
Somerset crept into the knock-out stages on net run rate. No Somerset batsmen hit over 300 runs in the group stages, the strength of their team being a bowling attack where no less than five bowlers took over 10 wickets. Somerset’s batting form is going to have to transform (and they do have big hitting match winners) to stand a chance here
Notts are the shortest price of the eight quarter-finalists at 8/15, Somerset 6/4.I expect Notts to win but 8/15 isn’t a value price. No bet.
Surrey v Birmingham 7pm
Surrey won their last two games to end second in the South Group table. Apart from some individual performances their vaunted batting line up has underperformed all group stages and instead their bowling attack, probably the strongest in the tournament has carried them through. Tom and Sam Curran, Dernbach and Batty have rescued several games from losing positions
Birmingham finished third in the North group. They have been transitioning from a very experienced line up to introducing youth with both bat and ball, supplementing the skills of Ian Bell and Jeetan Patel, who with 19 wickets in the group stages is still one of the best T20 slow bowlers in the competition. Only one batsman, Sam Hain,has over 300 runs.
Surrey are 4/6 favourites here, Birmingham 6/5. Whilst accepting that Surrey’s batting line up can come off, the value is with Birmingham as the underdogs.