The Vitality Blast continues on Monday evening when another two matches take place across the two groups of action. By the end of the night everyone in the competition with the exception of one will have played at least two games so we can begin to make a proper assessment of how things might pan out.
Unfortunately we won’t be able to use any TV coverage of these two matches to base our assessments on because there isn’t any. Thankfully both matches are at Test grounds where the live streams are of decent quality.
Nottinghamshire vs Northamptonshire (18.30)
The first of the two matches to begin on Monday night is the one which was held back for 24 hours after Nottingham Forest made the Sky Bet Championship play-off final. It sees Nottinghamshire hosting Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge.
Nottinghamshire go into this match as warm favourites to win the contest. They have only played one match but they won it pretty emphatically against Worcestershire. The Rapids haven’t really got started in this tournament yet so how much we can use that as a form guide I’m not entirely sure. Northamptonshire got smashed to pieces by the Birmingham Bears in their opening game but to their credit they bounced back and beat Durham in their second game. Quite what we can make of Durham given they have since lost to Birmingham remains to be seen. I think this is a match to sit and watch. You would imagine Nottinghamshire will win this but if social media is anything to go by a few of their players were eyeing up Wembley on Sunday and they don’t inspire me as favourites. I was there when they completely melted in the quarter final last year and don’t need that sort of angst on a 1/2 shot, especially against a side who could be dangerous if Chris Lynn or someone like that has a night out. I’m happy to leave this one alone.
Sign up for a Boylesports account to get up to £25 in free bets! Perfect offer for this series! Click the image below for this great offer! New accounts only. 18+ T&Cs apply. Gamble Aware.
Hampshire vs Somerset (19.00)
The other match on the card on Monday evening comes from the Ageas Bowl and is a repeat of the 2021 semi-final between Hampshire and Somerset. Somerset got the better of that match to make the final so revenge could be in the air for Hampshire.
This will be just the second match of the season for Hampshire and they go in search of a first win. When their loss to Middlesex happened on Friday night I was quite disappointed as a Hawks fan but when you reflect on it, Middlesex are unbeaten in what is now three matches and they had the advantage of having played a game and shook off any rust and got into a groove. Even then Hampshire probably should have won the game. To be fair to Somerset they have completely dominated their two matches but that doesn’t mean I don’t have question marks over them here.
Nobody outside their top four has faced more than 10 balls in their opening two games so if they are three down early it will be interesting to see what they have when you consider their Championship batting has been ordinary. What they can offer if they bat first would be another question mark as is how they will back up a performance the day before. I expect Hampshire to come on for the run here so to speak. Ben McDermott and Nathan Ellis probably needed the run out on Friday to acclimatise to conditions and as I said that was Hampshire’s first game.
When these two met in the semi-final last year Hampshire were significantly weaker than they are here and yet were the only winners for 37 overs until a terrible over in the field changed the game. The bowler of that over might not play here so I think Hampshire are overpriced here. The home side bat deep and if there was a positive in losing to Middlesex it was that their key players all got time in the middle. Somerset haven’t had that luxury so I see this as a much more 50:50 match than the odds suggest. I’ll take Hampshire in this one.
Back Hampshire to beat Somerset for a 3/10 stake at 2.25 with Coral
Back them here: