Natwest T20 Blast – Finals Day Trading Preview
With the tournament down to the last four teams, who will claim the inaugural NatWest T20 Blast title?
By Nick Rowan - In-Play Cricket Trader
NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day will be held at Edgbaston on Saturday 23rd August and includes both semi-finals and the subsequent final. The last four teams in the competition are the tournament favourites Surrey (2/1) as well as Hampshire (9/4) from the South Division, plus the North Division's Lancashire Lightning (11/4) and Birmingham Bears (4/1).
The ECB has confirmed that England's Test players will be made available for selection during Finals Day, subject to fitness assessments. Therefore Lancashire's Jos Buttler and Jimmy Anderson could return to NatWest T20 Blast action this weekend, along with Birmingham's Chris Woakes and Ian Bell.
Surrey vs Birmingham
Birmingham have the advantage of playing at their home ground and yet still remain outsiders to win the tournament. Surrey are firm favourites for this match at 4/6, with Birmingham available at 6/5.
Surrey will hope that opening batsmen Jason Roy can retain his excellent form in the tournament so far. Roy has scored the most runs in the competition and his total of 619 is substantially more than closest rivals Luke Wright and Jim Allenby, whose teams have already exited the tournament. Roy is a 5/2 shot to be Top Surrey Batsman.
Birmingham's hopes have been boosted by consistent performances with the ball from spinner Jeetan Patel (23 wickets from 13 matches) and with the bat from Varun Chopra - whose 472 runs is the highest apart from Roy from players still in the competition. Chopra is 11/4 to top score for Birmingham.
Hampshire vs Lancashire
Lancashire (Evens) topped the North Division but only progressed to the semi-finals after a magnificent triple-wicket maiden by Jordan Clark derailed Glamorgan's chase of 138. In the end, Glamorgan fell just one run short and yet the potential return of Buttler and possibly even Anderson could still tip the scales in Lancashire's favour.
Junaid Khan's international commitments have disrupted Lancashire's campaign but they will hope to regain their excellent league form (10 wins, 2 losses, and 2 no-results) after what was a somewhat fortunate escape in the previous round. They have defended a number of low scores in the competition and may look to bat first again if they win the toss.
Hampshire (4/5) secured their place at Finals Day with a fine chase of 198 to see off Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge. Their powerful batting line-up is likely to include Michael Carberry, Sean Ervine and semi-final match winner, James Vince.
Finals Day begins at 11am on Saturday 23rd August with the first of the two semi-finals, Surrey vs Birmingham Bears. Hampshire play Lancashire Lightning in the second game, which is due to start at 2.30pm. The winners of those matches will play in the final, which will is scheduled for 6.45pm.
William Hill will be offering a wide range of In-Play markets but also keep an eye out for our Twitter Specials throughout the day, which can be found on our Twitter page:
*Prices quoted are all correct as of 20th August at 5pm.