The Friends Life T20 is underway and the good people of The Middle Stump bring you their preview. For the fourth year of their sponsorship, 18 teams battle it out for a place in finals day at Edgbaston in August. This year sees the competition stick with the format of 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. Who will be celebrating come August 17th?
|Hampshire win the 2012 Friends Life T20|
/ West Wales
Outsiders for this group with a chance of getting through to the knock out stages are Northamptonshire Steelbacks. Even though they have a name that makes them sound like a social team from Northampton General Orthopaedic department, they are in good nick in the Championship and posses a plethora of big hitting all rounders in their side. They are a whopping 28/1 to win the competition.
An extremely competitive group with Yorkshire, Lancashire,
, Notts and the team who always get up for this competition in Leicestershire. Do not discount Derbyshire either who have just signed Albie Morkel. Yorkshire look a decent side, although whether they have their eyes on prizes in other formats remains to be seen, but watch out for Lancashire who have Katich and Mitch McLenaghan in their ranks. This group is too tight to call. Durham
If I was sticking my neck on the line I'd go for Lightning, Outlaws and Vikings or in pounds, shillings and pence, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and
Another tight group but really
Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey should be battling it out. This group generally provides the biggest crowds in the tournament with the big grounds such as Lord's and The Oval close to capacity for the Friday night games.
Outright Betting (William Hill)
Briggs...not many cricketers have emerged from the
3 Players to watch:
Jos Buttler (
) - gives it a proper whack, can keep, can field, is there anything this lad can't do? He even walks when he nicks it! On a flat deck at Somerset , small ground and with a cacophony of 9,000 pissed up Wurzels egging him on, we think he will have a great tournament. Taunton
Danny Briggs (Hampshire)- the slow left armer has a good record in this tournament, and taking the mantra from Jeremy Snape - the slower you bowl it, the harder it is to hit. Not many cricketers hail from the Isle of Wight, and Briggs is catching the eye of the
selectors in this format. England
Paul Stirling (Middlesex) - the Irishman in
North London is a strange one. In and out of the Middlesex side in the four day game, yet he is one of the most dangerous customers in the shortened match. Hits the ball a long way, and a decent competitor. Hits plenty of sixes!