Vitality Blast 2023 – Friday 23rd June Matches Tips and Betting Preview

The final night of the latest leg of Vitality Blast action takes place on Friday evening on what is another scorching day of temperatures across the UK and with us heading towards the end of the group phase the cricket is set to be as red hot.

As with Thursday, the Women’s Ashes gets the TV treatment but there is still a TV game once play at Trent Bridge has finished. The other matches will all be available to watch via the county live stream services on what should be a great night of action.

North Group

It feels like a big night in the North Group with the top two meeting at Edgbaston when the Birmingham Bears host their rivals Worcestershire. The Bears secure a quarter final spot with a win and would be nicely positioned to have that match at home. Third placed Nottinghamshire are not in action so Lancashire have the chance to go above them if they can find a win over Derbyshire at Old Trafford. Derbyshire are still alive in the competition but the same probably can’t be said of Northamptonshire after their defeat earlier in the week. They will be hoping to give themselves the slenderest of chances of qualifying when they go to Grace Road to take on Leicestershire. Durham and Yorkshire meet in what might be a knockout game for both at Chester-le-Street.

South Group

For the second evening in succession the TV match comes from the South Group where the cameras head to Taunton to see if the leaders Somerset can secure their spot in the quarter finals when they host local rivals Gloucestershire. Fourth meets third at the Ageas Bowl as the champions Hampshire go up against Essex while Kent will look to keep themselves relevant in the qualification picture when they host a Middlesex team who will be buoyed by that incredible run chase on Thursday evening. Glamorgan host Sussex in the other game with only the home team will having a chance of qualifying from those two.

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TV Match Betting

I’ll go with a couple of bets in the TV match on Friday with the first of those coming in the form of Somerset to hit more than 24.5 boundaries. We saw on Thursday night the impact the weather is having on the pitches and the outfield and the one thing we know about this ground is it is not very big at all. To add to the likelihood of Somerset getting away from Gloucestershire, the visitors have rested Matt Taylor and Zafar Gohar for their Championship match on Sunday so it is a weakened attack which will be in action here. Somerset have already plundered 231 and 32 boundaries against this Gloucestershire side when Taylor and Zahar were involved so it could be carnage without them running in to bowl. Somerset’s top order are all in great nick and the boundaries should really flow from their bat.

Will Smeed was the catalyst to that emphatic performance in Bristol with 94 from just 35 balls and after a slow start to his campaign, which isn’t completely unexpected with him not playing red ball cricket and the pitches needing a week or so to flatten out, he has caught fire in recent times. His last five innings have been 52, that 94 against Gloucestershire, 8, 36 and 66 so he is in decent form and he is the sort of livewire who catches the eye when he gets going. If he top scores for Somerset in this match then he is likely to do it in the sort of style which will claim the player of the match honours at an appealing 6/1.

Other Match Betting

I’ll go with two other bets over the course of the evening and they are also both in the South Group where I am expecting a couple of high scoring matches. The first of those comes at Canterbury where Kent, who have just rattled through a big run chase at Essex host a Middlesex side who have just set the record for size of run chase in their win over Surrey. What we saw in both matches is that there isn’t much on offer with the ball in either side. We also saw that Middlesex have clearly got a nothing to lose approach now but this Kent batting unit is one of the deepest in the competition with Grant Stewart down at nine. The run line for this match is 328.5 and with no match here for two weeks in the Blast conditions should be perfect for that line to get beaten.

The other bet I like is for Hampshire to beat Essex. The champions slipped up at Gloucestershire on Tuesday evening but that match was rain affected. Essex head to the Ageas Bowl having lost home matches with Somerset and Kent this week and are beginning to look a little vulnerable. They will now be helped by Sam Cook missing out with a niggle. The last thing any team that faces Hampshire needs is for the opening pair to get in and get going as they can take matches away in an instant. In those two losses, albeit on a tiny ground, 187/3 with 21 balls left and 190/3 with 10 balls left. That is a concern as it is the fifth and sixth time in 11 matches they have shipped 175 or more this season. One of those times was in the reverse meeting where Hampshire put up 214 in a 118 run victory when Cook did play. Hampshire have leaked a few runs with the ball at times this season but in Nathan Ellis they have a gun death bowler and with Benny Howell getting up to speed with each performance I expect the champions to have too much, even more so when you consider Essex were in action on Thursday evening and it is never easy to back up the next day.


Back Somerset – Over 24.5 boundaries for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Bet365

Back W.Smeed Player of the Match for a 1/10 stake at 7.00 with Bet365

Back Kent vs Middlesex – Over 328.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365

Back Hampshire to beat Essex for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Bet365

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