T20 Blast Preview

The NatWest T20 Blast – the main T20 competition in Britain – begins this weekend.

All 18 first-class counties compete and are split into two divisions – the North and South with each containing nine teams

During the group stage each side plays six of the other teams in the same division twice, home and away, and they play the other two teams only once, for a total of 14 games each.

Teams receive two points for a win and one point for a tie or if the match is abandoned. No points are awarded for a loss. At the end of the group stage, the top four teams from each group enter the knockout stage before the semi-finals and final which are all played on the same day.

Each county has the chance to include two overseas players specially for this competition and cane have more in their squad, but only two can be used in any match-day.

Northamptonshire Steelbacks are the defending champions and are fancied to put up a stern defence and their spinner Graeme White thinks they will put up a good show.

“We’ve earned that respect over the past couple of years, having been to finals day,” said White.

“Teams do pinpoint us as quite a threat, but that can only be good for us because it will make us step our game up and play better.

“I’m sure we’re looking forward to the challenge of trying to defend it. “It’s not going to add any extra pressure because we usually get told we’re underdogs and we’re never in anyone’s top three and we end up winning it. “It will be interesting to see where they rank us this year.”

Surrey are favourites for the title with a star studded line-up including the likes of Aaron Finch, Moises Henriques, Kumar Sangakkara, Ravi Rampaul, Jason Roy and former England star Kevin Pietersen.

“The team we have on paper is extremely exciting so hopefully we can light up a few games,” said England star Roy.

“There’s some serious firepower – it’s a great experience to share the field with people who have done it on a big stage and done it so often and been successful doing it.”

To get an expert view on the T20 we spoke to BetFred’s cricket trader Phil Crawford


Surrey are favourites with us and we took a £3,000 bet on them at 8/1 a few weeks ago – so obviously we have them slightly shorter than most other firms.

Nottinghamshire have been trimmed from 9/1 to 7/1 since their victory in the Royal London One Day Cup Final and I have eased Yorkshire and Hampshire to 9/1 and 10/1 respectively.

I quite fancy Essex who are available at 14/1 – they are having a very solid season having lost in the Semi Final of the Royal London Cup and are currently leading the way in County Championship Division 1.

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