THE penultimate T20 Blast quarter-final features Worcestershire and Hampshire on Friday evening. Our cricket man Josh Healey (@JoshHealey04) was desperate to share his betting views with the masses.
Worcestershire v Hampshire | Friday 17.30 | Sky Sports 2
Worcestershire Rapids host Hampshire in the penultimate T20 Blast quarter-final at New Road on Friday. A lot of rain has fallen here and unfortunately there is more forecast. The groundsmen will have to work overtime and luck will be required to get a game in but thankfully the weather is set fair for the reserve day (Saturday).
I fancy Hampshire to win this one, ultimately making it to Finals Day for a sixth successive season. They will be high on confidence after two comfortable victories against an excellent Warwickshire side in both the 50 over cup and the County Championship. The visitors have an abundance of quality in their ranks and if they bring their A game that should prove too much for Worcestershire, who only managed W3-L3 here in the group stage.
The hosts are in abysmal form having lost their last seven completed matches – two in the County Championship and five in the one-day cup. Although this match provides the ideal opportunity to stop the rot, the arguable inferiority complex which has hampered Worcestershire in T20 cricket could come to the fore once again.
Often labelled as the ‘plucky underdogs’, they are yet to make it to Finals Day having lost all four quarter-finals they’ve participated in. You cannot doubt Worcestershire’s credentials as a solid unit, and I’m not underestimating them here, but Hampshire have the edge in terms of form, quality and big-game experience. I fear Worcestershire’s T20 hoodoo could continue.
Hold your horses though, because I’m not backing Hampshire until I know the match is going ahead with the full allocated overs, or at least close to it. With rain forecast all afternoon a delayed start and severely shortened game looks a genuine possibility, in which case I would consider abandoning the bet.
I doubt Hampshire’s price (4/5 Ladbrokes) will shorten significantly, so I’ll wait to see how the weather plays out and back the visitors if a full game is scheduled, whether that be on Friday or Saturday. Check my Twitter for updates (@joshhealey04).
One bet I will happily place now though is on the Worcestershire Top Batsman market. Unsurprisingly it’s dominated by the two openers – Moeen Ali and Daryl Mitchell. With Mitchell’s fitness in doubt and there being a good chance of Hampshire nicking early wickets, the value lies further down the order.
Ross Whiteley, who will likely come in at six, is available at 7/1 (Paddy Power) to top score for the Rapids. Whiteley has claimed Top Batsman in 3/13 T20s this campaign; considering the odds, a win percentage of 23.1% is excellent.
The big-hitting batsman has been in reasonable nick, scoring over 30 in all of his last four innings. Admittedly that’s not ground-breaking form, but if he can get a start before cutting loose there’s a good chance of this bet paying out. It might not take a huge score to claim top batsman honours here, so a blistering cameo could do the trick.
Worcestershire v Hampshire – Ross Whiteley Top Worcestershire Batsman (7/1 Paddy Power)