There is just the one match in the Vitality Blast on Saturday evening and it should be an entertaining contest as Somerset take on Kent in front of the Sky Sports cameras down in Taunton, in a match between two very good sides.
Somerset have won their last two matches this week and will move into the top four with a win here while Kent will move even further clear of the chasing pack and consolidate their quarter final hopes should they be victorious.
The first few weeks of this tournament Somerset were finding their feet. A couple of comings and goings with internationals might have been a reason for that but their bowling just didn’t settle. That unit has improved out of sight in the last couple of outings and all of a sudden we are seeing a team that looks a little like the one which stormed to success in the Royal London One Day Cup earlier in the season.
The one thing we know about Somerset is that they are always going to bat well. They have the best opening pair in the tournament in the form of Tom Banton and Babar Azam, the latter has been absolutely brilliant since he arrived, and they set it up nicely for the powerful middle order to get stuck in. When it all comes together it is a tough combination to beat.
The early pacesetters in the South Group were the Kent Spitfires but recently they have tailed off a touch and that has seen Sussex storm into top spot. Due to the positive start they made, Kent are still in a decent position so there is no need to panic at a couple of indifferent results, but they won’t want it to turn into a full on slump so with that in mind this is a big match for the visiting side. They have already thrashed Somerset once in this tournament which should give them plenty of confidence.
It has largely been the bowlers that have delivered the goods for Kent so far this season but you would think at a ground like Taunton their batsmen are going to have to deliver the goods here. If they are able to do that then with the leading wicket taker in the competition in Hardus Viljoen, and a sizeable back up to him with Adam Milne, Fred Klaassen and others, Kent look in decent touch.
Somerset played on Friday night when they were far too good for Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl. Unless someone doesn’t pull up well after the game it would be a huge surprise if they are not unchanged.
Kent have yet to name their squad at the time of writing but we know they’ll be without Joe Denly who is away with England. Imran Qayyum did some damage in the first meeting between these two but he has been out injured recently.
I’ll go with three bets for this match with the first of them being on Kent to win the game. They might be having a wobble at the minute but odds against is still huge on them. Somerset are going mighty well at the minute but if you get through the openers early you open them up a little, and Kent are capable of doing that. Kent are beginning to bat deep again which is ideal and the other thing we have to recognise is the schedule. With the rain and things Somerset didn’t finish their match with Hampshire until around 10pm on Friday night and so they won’t have got back to Taunton until the early hours of the morning. Kent had their feet up while that was going on so the fresher side, with the better bowling attack, makes me think the visitors are the value here.
I also like the thought of over 11.5 sixes being hit here. We all know the Taunton dimensions so I don’t need to go through them again. Matches on this ground have been extremely high scoring and there is plenty of mite in both batting line ups. Kent have some big hitters of the cricket ball while Somerset hit near enough all the way down as we saw in Chelmsford earlier in the week. The first meeting between these two was lower scoring then we would expect. I don’t see this one being so therefore I expect a dozen sixes.
Alex Blake has already made a couple of half centuries in this competition and I don’t see any reason why he can’t go well here. The boundaries certainly aren’t big enough to contain him, that much we do know, and if the Somerset spinners come on it could be that Kent send in the left-hander early to combat that game plan. Even if they don’t he can whack the ball out of the park at will here so the 10/1 carries enough juice to merit a bet in this one.
Back Kent to beat Somerset for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with William Hill
Back them here:
WON – Back Over 11.5 sixes for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Coral
Back A.Blake Top Kent Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 with Betfair
Back him here: