The county season turns its attention to the 50 over format throughout August as the 18 counties compete in the Metro Bank One Day Cup, a competition which runs alongside The Hundred but which could have more importance with it beginning 11 weeks away from the World Cup.
Kent enjoyed themselves in the 50 over game last year when they followed up their 2021 Vitality Blast success by winning this title and they will be hoping to make a successful defence of the crown. A number of counties look stronger this season though which makes for an exciting competition.
2022 – Kent
2021 – Glamorgan
2019 – Somerset
2018 – Hampshire
2017 – Nottinghamshire
2016 – Warwickshire
2015 – Gloucestershire
2014 – Durham
2013 – Nottinghamshire
2012 – Hampshire
The 18 counties are split up into two groups which this year are a bit of a mish mash rather than the North and South that we saw used in the Vitality Blast. Each team plays the other eight in their group once in the first stage of the tournament and then when that has concluded the top side in each table progress straight through to the semi-finals. The second team plays the third in the other group in a pair of quarter finals with the winners going through to meet one of the table toppers in the semi-finals. The final is at Trent Bridge on Saturday 16 September.
Whenever there is a group phase in a competition there is inevitably a stronger group and that would appear to be Group A in the Metro Bank One Day Cup this year. Three of the four teams who made it to Vitality Blast finals day are in this group including the finalists Essex. Hampshire were semi-finalists in this competition last year and they are in Group A while Surrey are the other losing team at Edgbaston who are in this group. Lancashire were the beaten finalists in this tournament a year ago and they will look to go one better from this group. The team who beat them in that final are also in here in the form of Kent, who will be out to make a decent title defence. The other teams in this group will all be looking to make up for indifferent Vitality Blast campaigns in Leicestershire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. This is a strong group.
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The Vitality Blast champions Somerset will go in search of the white ball double from Group B but with a whole host of players lost to The Hundred they might be vulnerable to others. 2021 winners Glamorgan will hope that they can revive former memories while Durham look like it is a formality for them to be promoted in the Championship and they will put their attention into a competition that has historically been good for them. Sussex were beaten in the semi-final of this tournament last year and look set to go again from Group B. The other five teams looking to push for silverware from this group are Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. This feels a weaker group.
When you bet on this competition you have to be aware that a number of teams are impacted by call ups to The Hundred. This season though players who aren’t getting much game time in The Hundred can be released to play for their counties which muddies the outright waters a little, but in the main the majority of those players who are at The Hundred won’t be involved too much in this competition so it is important to delve into the squads rather than bet on the reputation of the county.
The team I like in this competition this season is Worcestershire. I always think that a good run in the Vitality Blast is a positive here. Both the finalists in that competition last term made the last four in this tournament a year ago and Worcestershire had a positive T20, reaching the quarter final before losing to a rampant Hampshire side on the day. The Rapids have lost Usama Mir, Mitchell Santner and Adam Hose from that effort but the likes of Jake Libby, Azhar Ali, Gareth Roderick and Josh Baker make up for those absences. Worcestershire finished bottom of their group in this tournament a year ago but their squad looks so much stronger this year with the likes of Brett D’Oliveira, Pat Brown and Jack Haynes all not away at The Hundred. They will be without Josh Tongue and Mitchell Stanley but they played a grand total of four Blast matches between them. Worcestershire look strong with the bat and they still have more than enough quality with the ball and being in the weaker of the two groups the 25/1 on them to win this title looks massive.
Back Worcestershire to win Metro Bank One Day Cup (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with Bet365 (1/2 1-2)