The Vitality Blast continues with a deep set of fixtures on Tuesday evening as we begin to head towards the end of the group stage and getting to knock a little more about how the knockout stage will look.
Seven matches take place in total over the course of Tuesday evening but with the Test match ending we are devoid of TV coverage so if you want to watch a game to follow a bet you need the county live streams.
We have a full card of fixtures in the North Group on Tuesday and with four teams tied at the top and all in action against sides outside the top four it feels like it could be a defining evening. Birmingham Bears begin the night on top of the table and they head away to a Durham side who are beginning to fade a little. Lancashire start out in second place. They have the hardest match on paper when they travel to fifth placed Worcestershire who will go above the 2022 finalists should they beat them. Nottinghamshire are in third place heading into the night and they make the short trip to Grace Road to take on Leicestershire while in the other game fourth placed Yorkshire host a Northamptonshire side who are drinking in the last chance saloon.
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First and third in the South Group are not in action after they played on Monday night so the rest have the chance to enhance their qualification hopes beginning with second placed Surrey who will be looking to make up for the mauling Hampshire gave them at the weekend when they host Glamorgan at The Oval. Hampshire boosted their top four hopes with that win on Sunday and they will look to solidify them when they travel to Bristol to face Gloucestershire. The other match in the South Group sees the 2021 champions Kent looking to continue their winning run when they head to Hove to take on Sussex.
We are going to have to dodge a bit of rain on Tuesday, not just during the matches where obviously it would have an impact but ahead of them too given how heavy the bursts of rain are that are sweeping through the country. One place where the rain might have disappeared early enough is in Bristol where Gloucestershire take on Hampshire in a match where I expected the scoring to be fairly low before the rain swept through.
We saw a fairly limited Gloucestershire batting unit against Kent the other night where it seemed everything either went or the batter went and in potentially tricky conditions against this Hampshire attack that plan isn’t going to work for too long. The concern with Hampshire is that they are very much their openers and not a lot else at the minute. In fact, only three players have more than 125 runs for Hampshire in this competition and this isn’t a top six which has changed a lot in that time so if David Payne or Matt Taylor can sort out the opening partnership Gloucestershire will have an open end to exploit. That makes me think that the 326.5 run line is a little on the high side, even more so when you consider that it has only been covered once in five matches which was when Somerset went ballistic here, an innings which was very much the anomaly rather than the norm here this term.
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