Vitality Blast 2023 – Saturday 20th May Matches Tips, TV and Betting Preview

The Vitality Blast begins in unique style on Saturday afternoon when a double header of action takes place at Edgbaston, the venue where the tournament will also end eight weeks from the start, with four sides all looking to make winning starts to their campaign.

Derbyshire are the team who have given up a home game to be part of the high profile beginning to the tournament and Sky have joined the party with both of the matches being live on the TV to kick the competition into life.

Derbyshire vs Lancashire (14.30 – Sky Sports Cricket)

The opening match of the 2023 Vitality Blast will see quarter finalists in 2022, Derbyshire, taking on the team who were being beaten in the final of the tournament the last time they played here in Lancashire.

Derbyshire were the surprise package of the competition last year but ran into a rampant Somerset on the wrong night in the quarter final. Shan Masood was a huge part of their success though and his absence feels big, although Haider Ali does have the chance to fill the void. The other question mark over Derbyshire is whether George Grimshaw can be as good again. I wouldn’t rule that out but I’d like to see a performance from him to make sure. Lancashire were a crack hot side last year but that was a team which had Tim David doing some destructive stuff in the middle order. He isn’t around this year and they are going to be without potentially their top four for the tournament with Jos Buttler, Phil Salt and Liam Livingstone all away at the IPL while Keaton Jennings is out injured. Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme offer good overseas options but with Richard Gleeson also injured you wonder if there will be a weakness for Lancashire at the back end of the bowling innings. These are two sides with a lot more questions than answers heading into this match so I’m happy enough to leave this one well alone.

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Birmingham Bears vs Yorkshire (18.30 – Sky Sports Cricket)

The second part of the double header looks like it will be the better of the two offerings as the Birmingham Bears open up their home campaign against a Yorkshire outfit who will be looking to better their semi-final run of a year ago.

I think it is fair to say that the Bears will improve when Glenn Maxwell and Moeen Ali arrive later in the month but they still have a solid enough looking top six while Chris Woakes being available will definitely help their bowling options and indeed their batting depth. Yorkshire might be as strong as they are going to be in this match given that they have Jonny Bairstow available here. He will fit into a top four which will also include Adam Lyth, Dawid Malan and Shan Masood so you would imagine runs will come from this international Yorkshire top order. The concern definitely comes with the ball though where Yorkshire look very light and where the loss of David Willey looks most crucial. That will change a little when David Wiese arrives from the IPL but until then you’ve got to think the Vikings could leak a few runs. When you consider that group matches at Edgbaston are often played with a short boundary to one side I’m expecting a high scoring contest here, one which with the batting talent on show can combine to clear a 41.5 boundaries line. I’ll take the boundaries over the sixes because if the likes of Shan Masood, Sam Hain or Rob Yates to be the ones to shine they are not the biggest hitter of the ball, choosing to us their class rather than brute force.


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