Thursday, 27 June 2013

T20 Preview


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


Midlands/ Wales/ West

Somerset reached the semi-finals last season to shake off the bridesmaid tag after finishing runners up for three years previously. This year in the Midlands/Wales and West division, they are tipped to dominate this group and are 9/2 favourites to go all the way. With Trescothick back and Jos Buttler getting better and better you have to fancy them; Dean Elgar is a promising South African left handed bat and handy spinner.
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.

North

An extremely competitive group with Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, 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.

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 Yorkshire.


Albie Morkel


South

Sussex and Surrey stand a decent chance and it is the overseas players here who really stand out. This week Middlesex have signed Kyle Mills, Vernon Philander reckons he has signed for Kent, although Kent are keeping schtum. In previous weeks signings such as the evergreen Azhar Mahmood at Surrey and Dwayne Smith at Hampshire mean this is a group awash with overseas talent.

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)

Somerset 9/2

Nottinghamshire 7/1

Sussex 8/1

Surrey 9/1

Hampshire 10/1

Yorkshire 12/1

Lancashire 14/1

Essex 16/1

Warwickshire 16/1

Durham 16/1

Kent 16/1

Middlesex 20/1

Leicestershire 25/1

Northamptonshire 28/1

Derbyshire 28/1

Gloucestershire 28/1

Glamorgan 28/1

Worcestershire 33/1


Briggs...not many cricketers have emerged from the Isle of Wight


3 Players to watch:

Jos Buttler (Somerset) - 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 Taunton, small ground and with a cacophony of 9,000 pissed up Wurzels egging him on, we think he will have a great tournament.

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 England selectors in this format.

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!

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