LIVE on Sky on Wednesday night there’s T20 Blast action. Josh Healey (@joshhealey04) shares his best bets.
Sussex v Northamptonshire | Wednesday 18:30
The T20 Blast Quarter Finals are a fascinating prospect as the best of the North meet the best of the South. The action gets underway at Hove on Wednesday evening where Sussex Sharks entertain Northants Steelbacks in what could be an explosive encounter.
Northants are a dangerous outfit not to be underestimated; the bulk of the 2013 title winning side remains intact and, after a torrid 2014 campaign, has come back strong this season. Although the hangover from last year lingered with three defeats in the first three games, a subsequent run of W7 L1 NR1 catapulted the Steelbacks into the top four.
Meanwhile Sussex claimed second spot in the South group therefore earning a home tie, invariably seen as an advantage. Is that the case here though? The Sharks went W2 L4 at Hove this campaign, and surprisingly it’s not an anomaly. In 2014 they managed W3 L3, hardly inspiring, whilst 2013 was a horror show with all five matches ending in defeat.
One could argue there is value to be had in backing Northants at 6/5, especially given the way their players complement one another and work so well as a unit, but you’d be a brave man to take on the Sharks’ many potential match winners. Personally I’m more content siding with this being an encounter where the boundaries flow.
It’s sixes rather than fours that I’m interested in – StanJames are offering 8/11 on over 9.5 sixes being hit. I will warn you this bet has only landed in 6/12 Sussex games, including 4/6 at Hove, and 4/9 Northants games, but this is because the Sharks and the Steelbacks only concede 3.8 and 3.9 sixes per game respectively (on average).
When focusing on batting, you find that Sussex and Northants average 5.6 and 6.8 maximums per game respectively, highlighting the wealth of big-hitters shared between the two sides. Northants have a deep batting line-up with strikers down to eight and nine, whilst Sussex have a strong top-middle order with a wealth of international experience, as well as some handy players lower down. Don’t fret, there’s enough batsmen capable of clearing the ropes in this matchup.
The last game played at Hove was over a week ago so expect a fresh wicket to be served up. The game in question was a 50 over clash in which 18 sixes here hit with both sides scoring over 300.
The groundsmen should be able to deliver another good batting track here, especially given the added importance and stature of this fixture. Accompany that with the relatively small boundaries and there’s a good chance the ball could sail over the ropes ten times or more.
One of the stand-out performers on show is ex-England international Luke Wright. He can be backed at 13/5 with Bet365 to top score for Sussex and that is worth chancing. This campaign he has notched 564 runs at an average of 56.4, with a colossal strike rate of 173.5.
In 2014 Wright top scored in 5/14 and has gone one better this season, leading the way for his side in 6/13. All in all he has top scored in 40.1% of the Sharks’ T20 matches since 2014. As a result, 13/5 is actually a reasonable price.
The powerful opener has vast T20 experience having played over 200 matches across the globe, and so he won’t be overawed by the occasion on Wednesday. Accompany that experience with his outstanding current form and it would be rude not to put our faith in the ex-England international.
Sussex v Northants – Over 9.5 Sixes (8/11 Stan James)
Sussex v Northants – Luke Wright Top Sussex Batsman (13/5 Bet365)