Preview – T20 Finals Day 2018
T20 Finals day is upon us!
Oddly nestled into the schedule three weeks after the fourth and final Quarter-Final was played, one of Lancashire, Somerset, Sussex or Worcestershire will be crowned 2018 Vitality Blast champions later today in Birmingham.
One Stump Short provides a ‘pocket size’ preview of the day:
WORCESTERSHIRE vs LANCASHIRE
FIRST SEMI-FINAL – 11am
Group Stage: 1st in North Group
Quarter-Final: Beat Gloucestershire by 5 wickets (Scorecard)
After edging out Durham for the top spot in the North Group by virtue of a superior run rate, Callum Ferguson’s 64 not out in the Quarter-Finals propelled the Rapids past rivals Gloucestershire and into their first Finals Day.
20-year-old Patrick Brown has perhaps been one of the stories of this year’s Blast tournament, leading the competition with 27 wickets at just 14.00, while South African Wayne Parnell has the experience and ability to hit Lancashire hard if he finds his groove.
With England star Moeen Ali and the highly thought of Joe Clarke available, Worcestershire have some class in their batting line-up too (not to mention Ali’s useful spin bowling), while the bits-and-pieces nature of Ed Barnard and Bree D’Oliveira make for potentially handy contributions with bat and/or ball.
Will the big occasion enhance the Rapids performance or hinder it however?
Group Stage: 3rd in North Group
Quarter-Final: Beat Kent by 6 wickets (Scorecard)
Coming off the back of a crushing County Championship defeat to bitter rivals Yorkshire, the Red Rose will be keen to enjoy some late-season success in their other guise as the Lightning.
Matt Parkinson’s 23 wickets place him third overall in this year’s tournament, behind Brown and Somerset’s Jamie Overton, while captain Liam Livingstone remains a live wire talent in the format, recording his maiden T20 hundred during the group stage of the competition.
With Jos Buttler and Keaton Jennings cleared to play, the Lightning possess an impressive batting line-up which also includes Kolpak-signing Dane Vilas and Alex Davies, while the bowling attack is savvy enough to make life hard for their opponents.
Experience of previous Finals Days should, in theory, help the Lightning too; though of course nothing is for certain in a season of ups and downs for club.
SUSSEX vs SOMERSET
SECOND SEMI-FINAL – 2:30pm
Group Stage: 3rd in North Group
Quarter-Final: Beat Durham by 5 wickets (Scorecard)
Sussex possess arguably the best bowling line-up in domestic T20 cricket, with Tymal Mills, Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan all available.
While Rashid Khan misses out due to Asia Cup duty, Will Beer and Danny Briggs have proven to be effective T20 spinners and will compliment the Sharks bevvy of quick bowlers admirably.
Laurie Evans is the highest scoring batsmen remaining in the competition with 554 runs (third overall, behind Aaron Finch and Ian Bell), while captain Luke Wright is set to play in his 299th T20 game in this semi-final.
The Sharks were Daniel Norcross’s tip to win it all on Episode 19 of the One Stump Short Podcast.
Group Stage: 1st in South Group
Quarter-Final: Beat Nottinghamshire by 19 runs (Scorecard)
The only team to win 10 (or more) games in the group stage, Somerset dispatched with 2017 Blast champions Nottinghamshire in the quarter-finals and possess an array of talent with both bat and ball.
Captain Lewis Gregory has been at the forefront of that, taking 17 wickets and scoring 321 runs on route to Finals Day, while veterans Corey Anderson (466 runs), James Hildreth (388 runs) and the retiring Johan Myburgh (350 runs) underpin a deep batting line-up for the South Westerners.
With the ball, Jamie Overton’s resurgent season has been a huge boost to Somerset in all formats, and his 24 wickets will surely be added to, but Somerset have also received handy contributions from Max Waller and Jerome Taylor during the competition.
Add in the veteran experience of Roelof van der Merwe and Peter Trego, plus the batting class of wicket keeper Steven Davies and it’s an impressive line-up from top to bottom.
FINAL – 6:45PM
Posted on September 15, 2018, in County Cricket, Domestic Cricket, Lancashire, Previews, Somerset, Sussex, T20 Blast, Worcestershire and tagged County Cricket, Domestic Cricket, Lancashire, Somerset, Sussex, T20, T20 Blast, Worcestershire. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.