There is another big night of action in the Vitality Blast on Thursday as the two groups continue to move towards their conclusion in the domestic T20 competition. A number of sides are in pivotal matches here.
Although the Test match is taking up much of the televised schedule on Thursday, we have got a Blast game saved for after play has finished at Headingley. The other matches can be viewed on the county streams too.
There are three matches in the North Group on Thursday evening with the leaders Lancashire looking to ram home their advantage at the top of the table when they play host to Durham up at Blackpool. Durham are already out of the competition so they are playing for pride. That is all Worcestershire have at take too when they welcome Yorkshire to New Road. Yorkshire will move to within a point of the top four if they win that game. Should Lancashire slip up against Durham then Derbyshire could be the ones to end the night on top of the table. For that to happen they would need to beat Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. The 2020 winners are already out of the competition.
This is the section where the TV cameras will be focusing on Thursday evening. They will be down at Taunton for the repeat of last season’s semi-final as second placed Somerset play host to a Hampshire side who need to keep winning to push themselves into the top four. Surrey have already qualified for the quarter finals and they can ensure they are at home in that last eight clash if they can win away to Sussex who are also playing purely for pride. The other match comes from Lord’s where Middlesex will look to keep their feint hopes of qualifying alive when they host an Essex side who begin the night in fourth but could drop down if they lose and results go against them.
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TV Match Betting
I’m not going to get too involved in the TV match because it is a massive match in the group and although the general consensus is that the runs and boundaries will flow when Somerset host Hampshire, it isn’t always the case that that happens when these two meet. You’ll never get me backing unders in runs, sixes or boundaries on this ground but the high lines on those means I’ve little interest in the over either. I will go with one bet though.
Ross Whiteley will be the first to admit he hasn’t really had the impact for his new club that he was brought in to have but that could all change here because he has plenty in his favour at Taunton. We know that there is no way the boundaries will be big enough to contain him should he get himself in and get going. All of the spin Somerset send down will be turning into the pads of Whiteley too which gives him so many more scoring options over the other Hampshire batters, each of whom are right-handers. There is every chance Hampshire are going to need their lower middle order to bail them out again here and this time I think Whiteley is a good bet at 12/1 to do just that.
Other Match Betting
Only one other bet interests me on what feels like a night where those playing with freedom could cause an upset or two along the way, but once again I don’t really fancy any of them to do just that. If I was going to back one it would be Derbyshire but I think the better bet in their match against Nottinghamshire is to back the sixes rather than run head first into another Alex Hales blitz which was the case in the reverse fixture between these two.
We saw in the Test match last week just how accessible the boundaries at Trent Bridge are. Since then Birmingham have splattered 260 on this ground and an up and down Leicestershire side hit seven sixes here in the last game. Derbyshire have a number of batters who can clear the ropes themselves but more importantly they have bowlers who can go the distance too. Those bowlers might not be relishing bowling to Alex Hales given what he did to them at Derby so between the two sides I’m expecting a dozen sixes to be hit.
Back R.Whiteley Top Hampshire Batter for a 1/10 stake at 13.00 with Betfair
Back Nottinghamshire vs Derbyshire – Over 11.5 sixes for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with Bet365