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Quartet chasing Twenty20 glory

Quartet chasing Twenty20 glory


All four teams heading to T20 Blast Finals Day will fancy their chances of leaving Edgbaston with silverware to show for their efforts in the shortest format of the game.

Sussex Sharks (2009), Lancashire Lightning (2015) and Somerset (2005) have all tasted success at the Twenty20 showpiece before, leaving the Worcestershire Rapids as the newcomers – having never previously reached Finals Day.

Sussex Sharks to win the T20 Blast – 5/2

Sussex only just qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament, but a five-wicket win over Durham in the quarter-finals showed the quality they possess with both bat and ball, despite being shorn of the services of Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan.

With the bat Laurie Evans is the leading runscorer in the competition to date, making 554 runs at a strike-rate not far short of 140 and the former Warwickshire man is 11/5 to be top team batsman in the semi-final showdown with Somerset.

Phil Salt is also a player to watch, as his 325 runs have come at in excess of 170 runs per 100 balls and if he gets in, he can win a game on his own.

However, the real strength for the Sharks lies with the ball, where, despite the absence of Rashid, they have options aplenty.

Former England left-arm spinner Danny Briggs is going for little over seven runs an over in the competition this summer, with leg-spinner Will Beer not far behind him.

The spin duo offer perfect assistance to a pace attack boasting Tymal Mills, Chris Jordan and Jofra Archer, with the last of that trio having already claimed 18 wickets in the Blast this season.

Archer is 27/10 to be top team bowler against Somerset and as he is a more than useful hitter with the bat, then 21/2 to be named as man of the match might also catch your eye.

Somerset to win the T20 Blast – 5/2

Somerset appear to be very similar on paper to Sussex, having matchwinners with both bat and ball among their ranks.

The ever-reliable James Hildreth is able to play in a number of roles for his side, but the explosive hitting of Corey Anderson and skipper Lewis Gregory is the factor which could see the West Countrymen go all the way.

Anderson has smacked 466 runs at a strike-rate of 171 in the Blast campaign, but his efforts are put in the shade by England hopeful Gregory, who is 10/1 to be man of the match against the Sharks.

Seventeen wickets with the ball is impressive enough, but it is with the bat where Gregory has been truly outstanding, as he has 321 runs to his name at an almost unbelievable rate of nearly 217 runs per 100 balls.

The cutting edge with the ball comes from another player hoping to progress to the international stage in the near future, Jamie Overton, who is 51/20 to be top team bowler against Sussex.

Injuries have hampered Overton in recent seasons, but he has genuine pace, a weapon that has proved useful in the Blast as he has claimed 24 wickets, but which could also see him be an England candidate in the longer forms of the game as well.

Lancashire Lightning to win the T20 Blast – 27/10

Lancashire may be facing possible relegation from the first division of the County Championship, but they have silverware to play for on Saturday.

They will be boosted massively by the availability of England star Jos Buttler, who has only played two Blast games so far this summer.

He is likely to be used high up the batting order by the Lightning and therefore is worth considering at 6/1 to be man of the match in the semi-final against the Rapids, while 27/10 to be top team batsman also has some merit.

Alex Davies is another to watch out for, having topped the 500-run mark in the competition already this summer, while England tourist Liam Livingstone is back after injury and could be a man for the big occasion.

With the ball, young leg-spinner Matt Parkinson is the go-to performer, having claimed 23 wickets in the competition to date and 53/20 to be top team bowler against Worcs offers a decent prospect of a return.

He is backed up by the effective part-time off-spin of Livingstone, while the unknown quantity of the left-arm leg-spin of Afghan teenager Zahir Khan could be the X-Factor which helps Lancs go all the way.

Worcestershire Rapids to win the T20 Blast – 3/1

Worcestershire, like Lancs, welcome back an England star in the shape of all-rounder Moeen Ali, who is 13/2 to be man of the match against the Lightning.

His return is timely given that Australian Callum Ferguson and New Zealander Martin Guptill, who both played key roles with the bat earlier on in the competition, are unable to feature on Finals Day.

Those absences mean that some big hitting further down the order from white-ball specialist Ross Whiteley may well be needed if the Rapids are to challenge for the title in Birmingham.

With the ball, the Pears have the undoubted find of the tournament in the shape of seamer Patrick Brown, who leads the wicket-taking charts with 27 to his name from 14 games played.

He is 27/10 to be top team bowler and is the focal point of the Worcs attack despite being young both in terms of age and experience.

The bits and pieces medium pace of Daryl Mitchell and the leg-spin of Brett D’Oliveira are also not to be under-estimated, while South Africa all-rounder Wayne Parnell can be a matchwinner on any given day.

Whether Worcs have enough to go all the way may be doubtful with neither Ferguson nor Guptill present, but they cannot be ruled out even so.

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Adrian Mills Adrian has enjoyed a journalistic career spanning over three decades, with cricket his specialised topic. He also has a wealth of knowledge on football, golf and tennis and has the stats to back up his betting advice.