Blast Quarter-Final Preview

Thoughts and predictions on this week's T20 Blast quarter finals.

Sadly no Somerset in this year’s knockout phase of the but still plenty to look forward to over the next few days. 

Remarkably three of the four quarter finalists from the North group are the same as last year. Derbyshire, welcome interlopers this year replacing Durham. In the South Sussex and Gloucestershire re-appear but are joined by Middlesex and Essex who both made it into the knock out on the last day of the group stages at the expense of the other two of last year’s quarter-finalists.

Durham have, in extraordinary circumstances kept their involvement in the competition by hosting Lancashire’s quarter-final this evening – Old Trafford being otherwise required today. Essex are the lucky travellers to the north east to face a Lancashire side who have lost only twice in the tournament this season.

Lancashire will be looking to repeat their performance at this stage last year when they beat Kent at Canterbury but Essex are the form team of the latter part of the competition coming from nowhere In the last week of the south group to grab fourth spot. Logic says Lancashire will be too strong but the loss of home advantage but all Somerset supporters would dearly love an Essex victory, for County Championship related reasons. I’m going to go for Essex in this one.

Notts, horrible in the Championship all year host the second quarter final tomorrow hosting Middlesex. After a strong start to the competition Middlesex faded in mid tournament before clinching their place with that run chase at Taunton. Notts will I believe be too strong for their visitors having greater all-round strength in their side but in Eoin Morgan and AB de Villiers Middlesex have two potential match winners superior to anything Notts have. But despite that I’m sticking with Notts.

The third quarter final is a repeat of last year’s final as Worcestershire travel to Hove. This is probably the hardest of the four to call, home advantage v form in this year’s tournament. I’ve just got a sneaking feeling that Mooen will inspire Worcestershire to return to Finals Day.

Finally, perhaps the most intriguing of the four ties as Derbyshire travel to Bristol to face Gloucestershire. A shame that such an appetising game will be contested on that Bristol surface. You’d expect Gloucestershire to take full advantage of the home draw but Derbyshire have been surprising everyone this season and all Somerset fans will be hoping they can continue this form on Saturday.

So, my four finalists, with heart admittedly ruling head, are; Essex, Notts, Worcestershire and Derbyshire. With Notts to triumph at Edgbaston.