There is just the one match in the Vitality Blast on Thursday night and it comes from Lord’s as the second London Derby of the campaign takes place. Middlesex thrashed Surrey at The Oval earlier in the competition and will be looking to secure a historic double.
Middlesex will be looking to consolidate their position as quarter final challengers in the South Group while Surrey need to embark on a winning run pretty soon if they are going to be anywhere near the knockout stages.
The north of the river outfit signalled their intent for the tournament when they acquired the services of AB de Villiers for the early part of the campaign and his influence has seen a dramatic change in their fortunes. He has given the batting an extra dimension. He has freed up the openers who have the knowledge that there is a world class player to follow them and while he’s at the crease everyone else can ease their way into their innings.
The real success behind this Middlesex side though is their bowling attack. They have a unit which offers up nothing easy for anyone, contains three international cricketers and a couple of very underrated bowlers on top of that. Their formula is a pretty simple one but it works extremely well and they are in a wonderful position from which to make it into the last eight for the first time in quite some while.
As ever Surrey went into the tournament as one of the more fancied sides to do well. When you sign overseas talent such as Aaron Finch and Imran Tahir to go with the English internationals of Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy and others there is going to be an expectation on you to deliver the goods. They haven’t really been able to do that though which will concern them, and they’re not too far away from playing in the last chance saloon.
Surrey have only won one of their six matches to date and that came against winless Glamorgan so how much of a positive form guide that is remains to be seen. You could argue that it isn’t much of one. They did get a creditable tie with Sussex but other than that this has been a campaign to forget for the Brown Caps. Their batting line up as a whole simply has to start delivering the goods much better than it has done.
AB de Villiers plays his final group match for the Seaxes in this outing. Middlesex coach Stuart Law has made one change to his squad with Tom Barber replacing James Harris as a back up seam option for the home side.
Jade Dernbach has recovered from a back spasm to take his place in the Surrey squad for this match. England have released Sam Curran but unfortunately for the visitors Liam Plunkett remains out injured. Morne Morkel continues to be rested.
I’ll go with three bets in this match. The reverse match between these two was a high scoring affair with a barrel load of boundaries and I don’t see a huge amount of difference here if I’m being honest. There were 12 sixes in that match and the likes of AB de Villiers, Will Jacks and Aaron Finch all made single figure scores not hitting a single six. The Lord’s Test match is less than a week away so there is no way this match will be in the middle of the square. That means we’ll have a short boundary and with the power on show in these sides over 11.5 sixes surely has to land.
Tom Curran hasn’t had the campaign he would have liked thus far but he does have a respectable performance line for this match at 36.5. We know he’s going to bowl his four overs and we also know he is going to bat at six in the order so in theory he is going to be able to cover this total with the bat or the ball. It is more likely we will get a combined score through the both of them and with him being a decent fielder there is no reason why catches won’t be added to that. With that in mind I like the over here.
Given that it is the final match for AB de Villiers there has to be a little bit of mileage in the 7/1 on him being the man of the match. Any kind of meaningful contribution is likely to have the Sky bods fawning over him as they get him as the centre of attention one last time. I daresay the South African will want to sign off in style too and after two scores of 88* in the tournament to date from just four innings he’s in the sort of form to go berserk. We could be in for some ABDV fireworks here.
WON – Back Over 11.5 sixes for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
Back AB.de Villiers Man of the Match for a 1/10 stake at 8.00 with Coral
WON – Back T.Curran’s Performance – Over 36.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365