Vitality Blast 2024 – Middlesex vs Somerset Tips and Betting Preview

The Vitality Blast comes back from a day off on Tuesday with one match as the champions Somerset continue their title defence when they make the trip to Lord’s to take on Middlesex in the competitive South Group.

Both these teams had good wins on Sunday and will be going into this match confident, although Somerset will be warm favourites given that they marched to the title last year while Middlesex struggled badly. The county live stream will be required to watch this one.

Middlesex

T20 cricket hasn’t really been good to Middlesex for a while now. Since the won the domestic T20 competition in 2008, they have only come out of the South Group twice and with one win in their first four matches this term things are already looking bleak for their hopes of reaching the last eight this time around. Their financial situation which is denying them the use of overseas players isn’t helping them but having only won 14 of their 52 matches this decade heading into this season, their issues lie a lot deeper than that.

To be fair to them, this competition usually falls around a time that Lord’s isn’t always available so they have to take their home games to grounds around the country where often the toss of the coin can dictate the outcome of the match. Even so, their bowling never seems to improve and some of the plans they have used this season really make you scratch your head. They have depth with the batting though but they will need it unless their bowlers improve.

Somerset

In contrast, Somerset are a very good T20 side and they finally got their hands back on the trophy last season after missing out at finals day at the two previous campaigns. They have started this term with a couple of wins and a couple of losses with the wins in their first and latest matches, the win on Sunday coming when they smashed Hampshire for 241. They didn’t really get going in the loss to Surrey but were unlucky that Sam Billings had a day out in the defeat to Kent.

Somerset are a huge hitting side with their top six all capable of clearing pretty much any boundary in the competition and because they have a couple of hitters down the order that early batting can play with freedom knowing that a repair job can be done should things go awry. You wouldn’t say Somerset are among the best teams with the ball, and probably miss a second spinner, but they have an overseas bowler which I always think is important in this competition.


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Key Players

Stephen Eskinazi has done the franchise circuit having played for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League and as captain of this side there is a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He is the top scorer for Middlesex this season but they’d like him to improve on a top score of 48.

Tom Abell clobbered the Hampshire bowlers all around Taunton on Sunday making 96 from just 47 balls. He has made a 50 in both of the Somerset wins but only four and 12 in their defeats so when the classy batter goes well so do Somerset.

Betting

I expect Somerset to come flying out of the traps here regardless of the match situation. The Middlesex powerplay bowling has been a shambles all season and now they go up against arguably the most aggressive top three in the competition who will all be looking to put on a bit of a show at Lord’s because they probably all think they should be involved in the England white ball squads. That makes me think that the Somerset first six overs score to be over 54.5 is perfectly achievable.

Two other things that make me think that this line can be covered are the fact that matches at Lord’s are rarely in the dead centre of the square so there will be a short boundary somewhere along the line and also Middlesex have conceded more than this number in all four bowling powerplays thus far in the campaign. They have given up 70, 70, 72 and 63 in the powerplays they have bowled in and now along come three aggressive, clean hitters of the ball. There is nothing in this Middlesex attack that makes me think that Somerset won’t reach 55 before the batting powerplay has concluded.

Tips

Back Somerset First 6 Overs – Over 54.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.85 with Betway

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