The NatWest T20 Blast 2017 will kick-start from July 7 and will go on till its Finals Day on September 2 as Northamptonshire kick-start the competition as the defending champions. Get the latest NatWest T20 Blast betting tips for the 2017 season in the piece below.
It comes as no surprise that Nottinghamshire will kick-start the NatWest T20 Blast as favourites yet again, as they look to shrug all the underwhelming performances in their previous editions to go all the way. Close on their heels will be Surrey, who had won the first ever edition of the Twenty20 Cup in 2003 but since then have runner-up twice and losing semi-finalists on three other occasions.
Yorkshire have rarely mounted much of a challenge when it comes to this format of the game but under the able stewardship of Jason Gillespie, a lot is expected out of them especially given how he led the Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League last season. They are currently the third favourite.
Following them are Hampshire and Somerset who will both look to better their last year’s performances, while Warwickshire, also known as the Birmingham Bears for the purpose of the NatWest T20 Blast come just behind Yorkshire in that list.
Latest NatWest T20 Blast Betting Tips for 2017 here:
Check in the first week of July 2017 for the latest match tips
The Natwest T20 Blast is the resident T20 league in England and Wales, containing teams from both nations. This will be the fourth season of this wildly popular brainchild of the England Cricket Board.
The league consists of 18 teams divided into North and South Divisions of nine teams each. These teams play a total of 14 games, by playing six sides both home and away and playing the other two sides only one time each. The top four teams from each division then progress into the knockout rounds of the competition.
The 18 teams are the Birmingham Bears, the Derbyshire Falcons, the Durham Jets, the Essex Eagles, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, the Kent Spitfires, Lancashire Lightning, the Leicestershire Foxes, Middlesex, the Northamptonshire Steelbacks, the Nottinghamshire Outlaws, Somerset, Surrey, the Sussex Sharks, the Worcestershire Rapids and the Yorkshire Vikings.
The NatWest T20 Blast 2017 is scheduled to start on July 7 this year with a number of matches kicking off on the same day. A number of the county sides face each other on opening day with Gloucestershire up against Middlesex at Cheltenham, the Worcestershire Rapids facing Warwickshire at Worcester and Glamorgan going up against Hampshire in Cardiff.
It is scheduled to go on for a month and a half before the league rounds end on 18th August with Nottinghamshire versus Leicestershire being the last match of the divisions.
The knockout rounds start on 22nd August and the final of the tournament takes place on 2nd September, immediately after 1st and 2nd Semifinals earlier in the same day in Birmingham at Edgbaston. The unusual set up and minor rest period for both the sides ensures great competition in the final.
Nottinghamshire, Essex, Northamptonshire, Middlesex, Glamorgan, Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and Durham all made the knockout rounds last year but eventually Northamptonshire went all the way after beating Durham in the final of 2016.
The most successful team in the short history of the Natwest t20 Blast are the Leicestershire Foxes with three championships under their belts. They are followed by the Hampshire Royals and the Northamptonshire Steelbacks, both of whom have won two championships each.
The competition is ramped up even more with local and geographic rivalries among the counties prevailing even here while the historic England Wales rivalry still divides fans and players alike on both sides of the border. The Foxes may be leading the pack at this point but the league is highly competitive and there are teams hot on their heels. Those who are yet to win a single championship especially, will be looking to make it big this time around.
Last year, the first semi-final of the Finals Day saw Northamptonshire take on Warwickshire at Birmingham, the venue for the Finals Day. Northamptonshire ran away to an easy win in their quarter-final against Sussex thanks to a brilliant display of batting by David Willey.
Willey hammered a 41-ball 100 to help Northamptonshire chase down 166 in just 16 overs, getting his side to 137 from just 11 overs to help them through to a win.
Their opponent in that first semi-final was a team that batted Essex out of the second quarter-final at Edgbaston. Defending champions Warwickshire were propped up to 189 in their 20 overs, thanks to late fireworks from Luke Evans and Chris Woakes, who were involved in a 69-run stand for the fifth wicket.
In reply, Essex never got going and fell away to 165 for six from their 20 overs with each of the five Warwickshire bowlers picking up a wicket apiece.
Hampshire hammered the highest score of the quarter-finals, a 196 for four from their 20 overs and it was possible because of captain James Vince’s century. He smashed an unbeaten 107 and that ensured Worcestershire were way behind when the rain finally came down.
After 8.1 overs Worcestershire were 58 for two, 18 short of where they needed to be to win the match.
They take on Lancashire, who were involved in a thrilling tie with Kent in the fourth quarter-final. Chasing 143 for a win, Lancashire went into the final over with six to get but lost two wickets from the first three balls of the over and had a dot from the fourth.
Needing five from two, James Faulkner helped himself to a couple of braces to tie the game and Lancashire advanced having lost fewer wickets.
Get the latest odds with bet365 associated with the NatWest T20 Blast 2017 outright winners once released:
Birmingham Bears: 12/1