Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Friends Life T20 Preview

The Friends Life T20 is underway and the good people of The Middle Stump bring you their preview. For the third year, 18 teams battle it out for a place in finals day at Cardiff in August. This year sees the competition revert back to three groups of six (North, South and Midlands) with the top two from each progressing to the quarter finals along with the two best third placed teams. Surrey are favourites with William Hill at 5/1 but who will be celebrating come August 25th?

No Nico for the Foxes this year...

Midlands/ Wales/ West

Big hitting Levi
Somerset- The bridesmaids of this competition have finished runners up for the past three years. This year in the Midlands/Wales and West division, they are favourites to dominate this group and are 11/2 to go all the way. They’ve suffered setbacks with the omission of Chris Gayle but will be more than happy to secure the services of big hitting Richard Levi (if Strauss goes there and plays against South Africa, like he did India last year, is this a Marketing man's dream for a certain clothing company? - Ed) and the always impressive Albie Morkel. Trescothick will always be a miss but the Cidermen have definitely got the fire power to go far.

Outsiders for this group with a chance of getting through to the knock out stages are Worcestershire Royals. Phil Hughes and Vikram Solanki will be key for the men from New Road. The Royals are a massive 8/1 to win the group and a whopping 28/1 to win the whole thing.


Taylor- Key for the Outlaws
Holders Leicestershire should struggle this season. The retirement of Paul Nixon and the moving of Taylor and Gurney to Notts will prove to be of great loss to the Foxes. Nottinghamshire are favourites to win the group at 2/1 but without a great deal of spin with Patel and Swann on international duty, get on Lancashire to win the group at 7/2. Lanky must be a great each way shout to win it at generous odds of 12/1.

No outsiders for this group as I think It will be a formality with the big two battling it out although as holders, the Foxes are an incredible 12/1 just to win the group. I wouldn’t back them with stolen money!


Bowlers will want to see the back of KP
As previously mentioned Surrey are 5/1 favourites to be crowned champions. Not much value in that for me. The Lions have had limited success in this format since winning in 2003 but with the help of KP and the shrewd signing of T20 specialist Dirk Nannes, I can see them getting to finals day.

Middlesex are the outsiders of the group for me. 7/1 to win the group and 18/1 to be crowned champions appeals to me. No Malinga but I think that will be a good thing. They have a bunch of guys who seem a tight knit group and they will go far. Much will depend on the availability of Eoin Morgan and Stirling but I fancy the Panthers …

Outright Betting (William Hill)

5/1 Surrey
11/2 Somerset
6/1 Nottinghamshire
10/1 Sussex
10/1 Hampshire
12/1 Essex
12/1 Durham
12/1 Lancashire
14/1 Warwickshire
18/1 Middlesex
20/1 Kent
20/1 Northants
22/1 Yorkshire
25/1 Welsh Dragons
28/1 Gloucestershire
28/1 Leicestershire
28/1 Worcestershire
33/1 Derbyshire

3 Players to watch:

Owais Shah - Essex

Top English run scorer in the recent IPL, yes... a tournament that included a certain Kevin the Kev.

Shaun Marsh - Welsh Dragons (Glamorgan!)

Absolute run machine in this format. Will be key if Glamorgan are to get out of their tricky group. 12/1 favourite for top batsman.

Matt Coles - Kent

Bowls at a brisk pace and can tw*t a ball out of the ground. Could become dangerous in a partnership (bowling not civil) with Azhar Mahmood .

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