Duo can Lord it up
Simon Crawford picks out Mark Wallace and Samit Patel as his star turns in Saturday's Yorkshire Bank 40 final at Lord's.
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It seems to get later and later in the cricket calendar but Saturday sees the final of the Yorkshire Bank 40 at Lord's between Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan.
After Britain has enjoyed a rare stellar summer of sunshine, it seems harsh on these sides that they must battle it out in the third week of September when there is now certainly a distinct autumnal feel in the British Isles.
But for both these sides it is a golden opportunity to earn some silverware after campaigns that have overall been well short of pre-season expectations.
- 1pt on Samit Patel being Notts' top bat at 5/1 (Sky Bet,Coral) - mixes elegance with power and has been in great form all season
- 1pt on Mark Wallace to be Glamorgan's top bat at 5/1 (Coral) - worth taking a chance on solid opener with Glamorgan needing a good start
- 1pt double on Mark Wallace and Samit Patel (both at 5/1 at Coral, double pays 35/1) - see above.
At the time of writing, Notts looked likely to lose heavily at champions-elect Durham which will leave them needing to do well in their final County Championship game of the season to avoid relegation from Division One.
The only consolation was the fact that the game at Chester-le-Street looked likely to be over inside three days which will given Notts extra time to prepare for Saturday's encounter.
Glamorgan, meanwhile, have also struggled in the four-day format and are likely to finish second from bottom in Division Two.
So it's fair to say they are the surprise package in this season's YB40, coming through a tough group that included Somerset, Middlesex and Yorkshire before they impressively won at one-day specialists Hampshire in the semi-finals to reach their first final since 2000.
For Notts, this is their first one-day final since 1989 but they start the match as heavy favourites and with the likes of Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, Samit Patel, James Taylor and Australian all-rounder David Hussey in their ranks it's easy to see why.
They are also set to be boosted by England duo Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann who have been permission by the ECB to play.
There is no value in the outrights with the best you'll get on a Notts victory being a general 5/11, while the Welsh county seem a little skinny to me at a best of 15/8 with Stan James - especially if Broad and Swann do get the nod.
So I'm going to turn to the batsmen to try and find some value.
Mark Wallace, the youngest ever wicketkeeper to play for Glamorgan when he made his debut in 1999, opens the innings for his side and has enjoyed a solid campaign in the 40-over format in 2013.
He has hit 435 runs in 12 innings, averaging 39.54, with a highest score of 118 not out.
It's a gamble backing an opener who is obviously most vulnerable to the new ball and also any help to the bowlers from the conditions if Glamorgan bat first.
But the stylish left-hander is someone capable of batting through an innings and a good start will be vital if Glamorgan are to have a chance so I like the 5/1 being offered by Coral.
Notts all-rounder Samit Patel will probably always be remembered as the man with all the attributes but who never quite fulfilled his potential.
In and out of the England set-up in all formats, Patel is undoubtedly a matchwinner but on so many occasions it has not come off for him.
However, he will still feel he has a chance of forcing his way into England's Ashes squad this winter and with a World Cup coming up in 2015, what better arena than a packed Lord's and a domestic one-day final to give the selectors a timley nudge.
Patel has been in superb form in the YB40 this season, hitting 556 runs in 13 innings - including 43 not out in the semi-final win over Somerset - for an average of 50.54 with a highest score of 129 not out.
He is likely to bat at four so should have plenty of time to build an innings and if he spends a substantial amount of time at the crease, then the scoreboard will certainly be ticking over at a good rate of knots.
He mixes elegance with sheer power and at 5/1 with Sky Bet and Coral I think he is well worth a punt.