The Vitality Blast group stage concludes on Sunday and by the end of what has all the potential of being a dramatic day of action we will know which eight sides will battle it out for spots at finals day in a shade under two weeks.
Although the Test match draws to a close on Sunday we do have a TV match to enjoy which actually gets played after the rest of the games which is very strange. The other matches will all be live via the county live streams.
We already know that the Birmingham Bears will top the North Group at the end of the campaign and so their clash with Durham at Edgbaston is largely irrelevant but the other three matches all carry implications on them. Lancashire are in second spot and they will qualify for the knockout stage if they see off Northamptonshire at Old Trafford and would then host their quarter final unless Worcestershire go to Derbyshire and win by a wide enough margin to overtake them on net run rate. Derbyshire could still make the last eight themselves should they win that match and Nottinghamshire fail to come out on top in a home assignment with local rivals Leicestershire at Trent Bridge.
It is in the South Group where the televised action comes on Sunday evening. We already know Somerset will host a quarter final on Friday night but we don’t know whether 2021 champions Kent will be in the quarter final themselves. They need to match Essex on the final day and hope they stay out in front on net run rate to secure a spot in the quarter finals. Essex have the chance to pile the pressure on Kent when they play earlier in the day. They go to The Oval to take on Surrey who need to win in order to host their quarter final. Should Surrey slip up then Hampshire could sneak into second spot if they can beat Gloucestershire at the Ageas Bowl. The other match sees two already eliminated teams meeting in Cardiff when Glamorgan host Middlesex.
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TV Match Betting
I’ll go with a couple of bets in the TV match on Sunday evening with the first of those coming in the form of the boundaries. Somerset can free roll in this match as whatever happens in it they will be at home on Friday night but Kent might not just need to win the game but if Essex have done a bit of a job on Surrey earlier in the day then they might need to win by a certain margin to make the last eight so they would need to score big. We know this ground is small and the pitch in the match against Gloucestershire played like a dream so the boundaries are very much accessible here. Both of these teams are deep with the bat and there isn’t a huge amount on offer with the ball. Even Matt Henry might be nullified because he has played for Kent for the past couple of seasons. I expect the boundaries to flow here. The line is 41.5 which I think is within reach for these two on this ground.
Kent are going to be without the injured Daniel Bell-Drummond for this match which might open the door for someone in the middle order to come along and top score and Jordan Cox looks good for that shout at 7/1. He top scored in the rain shortened match on Friday night when he clubbed 37 from just 16 balls against Sussex and scored 82* against the same opponent in the reverse fixture 10 days before that. Cox hasn’t been dismissed in his last six Blast innings and looks in excellent touch. This ground certainly isn’t big enough to contain him so that 7/1 feels a huge price.
Other Match Betting
There is only one other bet which catches my eye on the Sunday card and that comes in Derby where I am expecting a high scoring match between Derbyshire and Worcestershire, a match which both teams need to win to preserve their quarter final hopes. Derbyshire belted Leicestershire for 230 here on Friday night and with the Worcestershire attack having fallen apart in recent times having shipped 200 in their last two matches there is no reason why Derbyshire can’t go big again.
Worcestershire do have a daunting looking batting unit though and there isn’t too much in the way of gremlins in the Derbyshire attack. It has probably got weaker since Mark Watt went off to World Cup qualifying even if it is saving Zaman Khan to the back end of the innings. Matches involving these two teams this season have been very high scoring and the trend of this competition is that scores have gone up as they pitches have got better and batters familiar with the task at hand. I see no reason why that changes here so I like over 322.5 runs in this one.
Back Somerset vs Kent – Over 41.5 boundaries for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365
Back J.Cox Top Kent Batter for a 1/10 stake at 8.00 with Bet365
Back Derbyshire vs Worcestershire – Over 322.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365