The Vitality Blast continues once again on Wednesday with three matches up and down the country. The end of the group stage is in sight now which means those chasing quarter final spots can’t afford to slip up.
We have three such sides in action across the evening and they take on three sides whose tournament looks to be over so it will be interesting to see who can handle the pressure and who can’t. We have one match on TV which is where we’ll begin this preview.
Hampshire vs Somerset
Somerset have the chance to extend their lead at the top of the South Group when they make the trip to Southampton to take on a Hampshire side who have stunk the competition out this season.
Whatever Hampshire do in their final four matches they will be watching on when the quarter finals come around while two wins from their last four will be enough to secure a knockout spot for Somerset. Somerset have been excellent in this competition so far. They look a nicely balanced side and are in form with the bat and the ball.
Hampshire might have Dale Steyn back for this match but in truth it hasn’t been their bowling that has necessarily been a problem. Steyn returns for Colin Munro so a batting line up that has been terrible for too much of this tournament misses the one man who has got after the bowling. Somerset have no such issues and I expect them to win this one with a good deal in hand.
There is an opening berth up for grabs for Hampshire in this match which I’d like to see Tom Alsop fill but with Lewis McManus having been dropped to open and keep wicket would be tough so it is likely to be Rilee Rossouw. If he was in any form I’d have taken him to top score but he isn’t so it might pay to stay with Liam Dawson. Dawson has top scored in Hampshire’s last two matches including the reverse meeting against Somerset when he plundered 82 off 50. He won’t need that many to top score here so at 11/1 he’s grossly overpriced.
Durham vs Leicestershire
One of the two matches in the North Group comes from the Riverside where Durham play host to Leicestershire. Durham are right in the mix for the quarter final spots and could go top with a win here while Leicestershire have needed snookers for a little while.
The schedule might have gone against Durham here though which is a big concern. They beat Lancashire on Tuesday evening although I’m sure they are still working out how but they won’t have got back to Durham until the early hours which will make backing up their performance tough. Paul Collingwood said he can’t always do two matches in two days which is another concern. I’d want a bigger price on Leicestershire in order to take them so I’ll sit this one out.
Derbyshire vs Northamptonshire
The other match in the North Group comes from Derby where Derbyshire look to continue their charge towards a quarter final spot when they go up against a Northamptonshire side who have been useless in this competition and who will not be threatening another trip to finals day.
I fully expect Derbyshire to win this match but they won’t have been in the position where they are heavy favourites to win a match of this ilk too often. That needs a strong mindset and while I think they have it I’m in no rush to find out at 8/13. Northants just haven’t got going in this campaign but they have dangerous players and if two or three have days out at the same time someone is going to see their party ruined. That might be here so I’m happy to sit this out too.
WON – Back Somerset to beat Hampshire for a 5/10 stake at 1.73 with William Hill
Back L.Dawson Top Hampshire Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 12.00 with Betfair
Back him here: