Sit back and enjoy

  • By: Dave Tickner
  • Last Updated: August 2 2014, 18:01 BST

Our Dave Tickner previews Sunday's NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final between Nottinghamshire and Hampshire but isn't having a bet.

Tom Westley: Has two tons for Essex in T20 cricket this season
Tom Westley: Has two tons for Essex in T20 cricket this season

The NatWest T20 Blast is down to the last eight, with the four quarter-finals played across the weekend to see which four teams will make it through to finals day at Edgbaston on Saturday August 23.

The winners and second-placed teams from each group have home advantage against the fourth and third-placed finishers respectively from the other pool.

Check out our game-by-game guide to the quarter-final clashes.

Recommended Bets:

2pts Glamorgan to beat Lancashire

1pt century scored in Essex v Warwickshire

Lancashire v Glamorgan, Saturday August 2, 1400 BST

Lancashire are strong favourites for this one having won 10 of their 14 group games, but there was undoubtedly greater depth to the southern group where only Middlesex were pushovers while Northants, Leicestershire and Derbyshire were all woeful in the northern section.

As such, Glamorgan - who have won two of their first three matches in the Royal London One-Day Cup after reaching the T20 last eight - are an attractive proposition at 17/10.

Frankly, once you get to this stage I'm not sure anyone should be 17/10 to win a T20 match between two sides who are, by definition, going well.

With Jos Buttler and James Anderson unavailable for Lancs in this one, Glamorgan's chances look to have been significantly underestimated.

Crucially, Glamorgan's qualification was not dependent on their home form. Four of their six victories came on the road. Three of those wins came at Surrey, Hampshire and Somerset who finished second, third and fifth in the table.

Lancashire had a fine home record in the group stages, losing only to Yorkshire, but they have lost their first two home games in the One-Day Cup.

Glamorgan look a straightforward value call here.

Surrey v Worcestershire, Saturday August 2, 1430 BST, Sky Sports 2

Another game where the home side just look way too short. Surrey and Worcestershire both picked up 18 points in the group stage and while Surrey have the big names, the Rapids should not be discounted.

If Worcestershire weren't already in the ante-post portfolio at 40/1, I'd be adding them here at bigger than 6/4.

As it is, I'll swerve, but certainly wouldn't put you off the visitors who continue to be underestimated despite eight wins from 12 completed games in the group stages.

Essex v Birmingham, Saturday August 2, 1800 BST, Sky Sports 2

Essex are perhaps the most vulnerable of all the home sides in the last eight despite qualifying as winners of the stronger section.

That's because they absolutely stumbled over the line with defeats in their last three group games - two of them at home in Chelmsford where they are usually so very strong.

By contrast, the Birmingham Bears (as Warwickshire rebranded themselves for this competition) won their last three group games to reach the last eight.

This has something of the feel of a football play-off game, where one team has fallen away to finish third and takes on a fast-finishing team full of confidence after a strong finish to the season.

Fans of recent form will look at odds-against quotes for Birmingham and tuck in, but for me the layers have just about taken the sides' contrasting group stage finishes into account.

A bet that does catch the eye, though, is for there to be a century in the match. Tom Westley has scored two of them this season for Essex, while Mark Pettini has a 95.

Of the eight centuries in this season's competition, three have involved Essex. Two came in their final group game as Westley's heroics were trumped by an astonishing 153 not out from Luke Wright.

It's not an outrageous price but based on Essex's run-scoring this season and the small Chelmsford ground's reputation as a strong batting wicket, it's probably a point too big.

Nottinghamshire v Hampshire, Sunday August 3, 1430 BST, Sky Sports 2

On paper this looks the toughest of the four quarter-finals to call, and that's how the layers see it with Notts a best of 13/16 and Hampshire 5/4.

Both sides have plenty of big names and T20 pedigree, with the likes of Alex Hales, Samit Patel, James Taylor and Riki Wessels taking on Michael Carberry, James Vince and Glenn Maxwell.

I'm generally inclined to side with the outsiders in this format given T20's volatility, but this is another one where the prices look about right.

Notts might be a smidge big at 11/10 in the most sixes market given the immense power in their batting line-up, but Hampshire are hardly wanting in this regard and overall this looks one to sit back and enjoy on a Sunday afternoon.