Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hampshire Favourites As Friends Life T20 Reaches Quarter Final Stage

The annual Friends Provident T20 tournament has finally reached the business end with the draw now confirmed for the quarter finals. The four matches will all be played between 6-8 August to decide which four teams go forward to finals day at Edgbaston on Saturday 27th August.

The draw has seen the defending champions and winners of Group South Hampshire pitched against Durham Dynamos who finished fourth in Group North. The other three ties will see the runners up in group north, Leicestershire against the third place team from group south, Kent Spitfires, while group north winners, Nottinghamshire Outlaws will take on the fourth team in group south Somerset. The fourth match brings together group south runners up, Sussex against Lancashire, the third place team in group north.

It is completely understandable why Hampshire are the favourites to win the tournament for a second successive year after they dominated group south this season with 11 wins and only two defeats. They are drawn at home against Durham where they have remained unbeaten all season, which is as good a reason as any why Bookmakers have made them 8/13 odds on favourite to win a place through to finals day and current head the Twenty 20 odds.

Next best in the betting are the Nottinghamshire Outlaws who won Group North in equally convincing style as Hampshire had won Group South, winning eleven and losing only twice all season. They managed to make finals day last year but were knocked out by Somerset in the last four. Some of their success is down to several high scores achieved in the group and by some excellent batting from Adam Voges and Alex Hales who have scored 470 and 466 runs respectively this season so far. Darren Pattinson has also been an important player for them taking 22 wickets in 15 matches played.

To win their quarter final however they will need to avenge last season’s semi defeat as they will be taking on Marcus Trescothick’s Somerset in what looks to be the tie of the round, with very little between them in the betting.

Quarter Final Draw:

6th August - Leicestershire Foxes v Kent Spitfires

7th August - Nottinghamshire Outlaws v Somerset

7th August - Hampshire Royals v Durham Dynamos

8th August - Sussex Sharks v Lancashire Lightning

This year’s tournament has seen some remarkable individual performances, Leicestershire batsman Andrew McDonald finished as top run getter through the group stages with a massive 510 runs from 15 innings. He averaged over 63 runs per innings and had a very useful strike rate of over 127.

The highest individual score came from Kevin O’Brien of Gloucestershire with 119 runs scored against Middlesex which came off just 52 balls and included eleven sixes. This innings helped gave Gloucestershire a total of 254 off 20 overs, the highest total in the history of domestic T20 cricket. His superb knock should come as no surprise as O’Brien holds the world record for the fastest century ever scored at a World Cup, which came earlier this year when he thumped a hundred off just 50 balls against England.

Top wicket taker so far is Tim Phillips of Essex with 26 wickets at a very impressive average of 13.23. He had an economy rate of just over 7 runs per over and had best figures of 4/41. The best individual bowling figures in fact came from Arul Suppiah of Somerset when he took six Glamorgan wickets for just 5 runs off just 22 balls.

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