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Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Treble-chasing Notts set high standard

But big-hitting rivals can't be rule out

Alex Hales of Nottinghamshire is bidding to follow up his One-Day Cup heroics
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Finals Day
Sky Sports Cricket, from 11am Saturday

Nottinghamshire won the One-Day Cup in July, look poised to claim the title in Division Two of the County Championship, and are 7-4 favourites to see off three rivals on T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston.

The Trent Bridge outfit are enjoying a magnificent summer and Racing Post Sport’s 9-1 headline Blast tip have a great chance of completing the domestic limited-overs double.

However, Birmingham Bears’ investment in youth – backed up by New Zealand internationals Jeetan Patel, Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme – has earned them a Finals Day appearance on their home ground while Glamorgan and Hampshire cannot be ruled out.

The Welsh side, who face the Bears in the first semi-final, topped the South Group table before a nine-wicket victory over Leicestershire in the last eight.

And Hampshire, who were bowled out for 91 by Somerset in their final group game, responded with 249-8 – the second-highest total in the 2017 tournament – in the quarter-final at Derbyshire.

Birmingham Bears v Glamorgan 11am
Birmingham, Warwickshire’s Twenty20 guise, are 5-6 to book a place in the final by beating Glamorgan in the first semi.

The Bears dropped captain Ian Bell late in the group stage after young batsmen Dom Sibley, Ed Pollock and Adam Hose pushed the England legend down the pecking order.

They won their last two group games and held their nerve well on the last-eight trip to Surrey, whose openers Jason Roy and Aaron Finch put on 98 in 9.1 overs before wily veteran Elliott and hard-hitting De Grandhomme aced a testing run-chase.

Glamorgan have their own match-winner in Colin Ingram, whose unbeaten 70 in the quarter-final win over Leicestershire took his tally for the tournament to 451 runs in 12 innings.

Ingram has hit 30 sixes in those dozen knocks and with fellow South African David Miller also available for Finals Day, the 13-10 about Glamorgan striking more maximums than the Bears is worth a bet.

Recommendation
Glamorgan to hit more sixes than Birmingham
2pts 13-10 bet365

Hampshire v Nottinghamshire 2.30pm
Nottinghamshire finished top of a competitive North Group containing all four of last year’s Blast semi-finalists and they demonstrated their batting depth in the five-wicket quarter-final win over Somerset.

Despite the early loss of openers Alex Hales and Riki Wessels, Samit Patel (45), Dan Christian (36 not out) and Steven Mullaney (20 not out) steered them home after an excellent bowling display led by Jake Ball’s 2-21.

Shahid Afridi blasted his first Twenty20 century at the age of 37 in Hampshire’s last-eight success at Derby and it will be interesting to see whether they keep the mercurial Pakistan star at the top of the batting order.

The surprise factor of Afridi’s promotion paid off handsomely in the quarter-final but the consistent James Vince looks a worthy favourite to top-score in the semi-final.

The Hampshire skipper made 55 off 36 balls against Derbyshire as Afridi teed off at the other end and Vince, the leading runscorer in the 2015 Blast, has reached 50 in three of his last four innings.

Betway make Notts 5-2 to hit the most sixes on Finals Day with the other three sides all at 3-1.

Recommendation
J Vince to be top Hampshire runscorer
1pt 13-5 bet365

Advised on July 7
Nottinghamshire
2pts 9-1 BetBright


Read James Milton’s betting preview of the T20 Blast final on racingpost.com from 6pm on Saturday

Hampshire, who were bowled out for 91 by Somerset in their final group game, responded with 249-8 – the second-highest total in the 2017 tournament
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