The third season of The Hundred might get underway on Tuesday but running alongside it once again is the Metro Bank One Day Cup and that also begins on the same day with five matches forming the opening day of action.
Those five matches come across both groups in the competition as the domestic 50 over tournament begins. The Hundred has the TV attention so if you have a bet and want to watch its progress you’ll need the reliable county streams.
Three matches take place in Group A, which many are suggesting is the tougher of the two groups. Kent won this trophy last season and they will get their title defence on the opening day of the tournament. They head to Scarborough to take on Yorkshire. Hampshire reached the semi-final of the Vitality Blast last month and of this competition a year ago and they start their quest to go a couple better when they host Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl. The other match comes from Sedbergh as the 2022 runners up Lancashire host an Essex side who were beaten in the Vitality Blast final just over two weeks ago and who will be out to make up for that.
We have two matches in Group B of the competition taking place on Tuesday with Cheltenham being the host of one of them as Gloucestershire take a home match to one of their outgrounds when they take on Derbyshire. The other match comes from up at Chester-le-Street where Durham being their quest to win the 50 over competition once again. Worcestershire made the last eight of the Vitality Blast earlier in the season and will be hoping for a positive start when they face off against Durham.
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I’ll go with a couple of odds against shots on the opening day of the competition and I’ll start at the Ageas Bowl where Hampshire take on Middlesex in a clash where if this was the T20 tournament we might think this would be heavily weighted in the favour of the home side. It isn’t though, it is the 50 over competition and Middlesex might be licking their lips at the prospect of taking on a Hampshire side who have lost 10 players to The Hundred. There is still some first-team experience in the Hampshire outfit, mostly with the bat, but with the ball Hampshire have a very young bowling unit out with Dom Kelly and Eddie Jack still only 17 and Scott Currie still relatively young too. Middlesex have a pretty solid top six or so at their disposal even without Steven Eskinazi and Max Holden. Mark Stoneman and Sam Robson have plenty of experience and then there is modern day batting in the form of Joe Cracknell, Jack Davies and John Simpson not to mention Ryan Higgins and Robbie White who are solid campaigners. Middlesex have a good quartet of seamers in their squad for this one and plenty of spin options and they are priced a little too big at 6/4.
Another side who I think are priced strongly are Derbyshire. I was very close to taking Derbyshire to win this competition but I think they will get off to a fast start away to Gloucestershire who have too many youngsters in their ranks for my liking. Gloucestershire were all or nothing, all too often the latter, in the T20 Blast and will be missing two key cogs in David Payne and Miles Hammond. Derbyshire have lost a quartet of players to The Hundred but even without Wayne Madsen and Leus du Plooy their top six looks good and in decent form. They probably aren’t as strong with the ball with Suranga Lakmal working his way back to fitness but Sam Conners isn’t a bad leader of the attack and two spinners on a club pitch is never a bad idea. If this was a pick ‘em match then I might leave it alone but the 11/10 on Derbyshire, who can go full pelt at this with absolutely no hope of promotion in the Championship, is just big enough to reel me in.
Back Middlesex to beat Hampshire for a 3/10 stake at 2.50 with William Hill
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Back Derbyshire to beat Gloucestershire for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with Boylesports
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