T20 Finals Day is one of the big highlights of the British sporting calendar these days and it’s a load of fun to watch. But given the nature of the business here at Daily Punt, the question is: so what’s the punt? Jamie Pacheco of Betting Maestro has found three value selections ahead of the big day.
Worcestershire can defy the odds
It’s an interesting quirk of this year’s edition that Worcestershire are the only county not to have made an appearance in Finals Day before. But there are good reasons to think they won’t fall at the first hurdle as underdogs to Lancashire in the first semi-final.
They topped the North Group with nine wins and are surely the outsiders of the four purely based on the lack of star names and experienced players in the squad. Well, the first part isn’t strictly true. In Moeen Ali they’ll have a man in form who will probably be the best all-rounder on show on the day. And in Wayne Parnell (more on him in a bit) they’ve got a man who at 29 has been at World Cups for South Africa, IPLs and plenty of other big stages.
As for the inexperience, maybe that’s not a bad thing. In this format you can get away with just going out and expressing yourself without fear and it may just suit them to be the side no-one fancies. They beat Lancashire away in the Group Stages (their home was a wash-out) and it may just be a case that if they can get Jos Buttler out cheaply, they’ll be on top there and then.
Lancashire’s success was built on the quality of their spinners so it will negate them somewhat that this is the first semi-final, meaning the wicket won’t take as much turn.
Back Worcestershire to beat Lancashire @ 2.14 on Betfair
Have a wager on Wayne
With 27 wickets from 14 matches, Worcestershire’s young seamer Phil Brown is the leading wicket-taker in the competition. Another reason why Worcestershire deserve more respect, by the way.
That tally explains why he’s the 3.1 favourite with Betfair Sportsbook to be Worcestershire’s top bowler against Lancashire.
But the aforementioned Parnell took 13 from just 7 games so his average was almost exactly that of his young team-mate.
There’s really not much to choose between them and if as expected, the wicket doesn’t take much turn so early on in the day, especially if Worcestershire bowl first, the chances of spinners Ali and Brett D’Oliveira may be somewhat negated. Making it pretty much a two-horse race in my view.
Parnell has seen it all before and may come into a match like this better prepared in terms of nerves. As ever, the question is one of price and value. Brown is 3.1, Parnell is 5.0. It’s a no-brainer.
Back Wayne Parnell to be Worcestershire Top Bowler @ 5.0 with Betfair Sportsbook
Somerset can go all the way
But the team to back to win the whole thing could well be Somerset. For starters, they have for my money the easiest semi-final. Sussex are here on the back of some absurdly good performances from overseas star Rashid Khan. Thy wouldn’t have made it this far without him. Except they are…without him. He’s on international duty and they haven’t drafted anyone in at this late stage to replace him.
In Luke Wright and Chris Jordan they have a couple of England has-beens with something a little bit extra to them, fair enough. And in Jofra Archer, the future of English cricket. But what they don’t have is particularly economical bowlers without Khan and despite making it through the quarter-finals without their champion spinner, I’m not sure they can go out and do it all over again. I make Somerset pretty strong favourites to go through here.
But let’s talk about Somerset in more depth. No-one got more wins in the Group Stages than their 10 and they followed that up by beating the defending champions Nottinghamshire in the quarters.
The key here is the balance to their side. And by that we mean they cover all the key bases. Classy opener in former England man Steven Davies, experienced middle-order players in James Hildreth and Peter Trego, a big-hitting dasher in overseas man Corey Anderson and a boundary-clearing all-rounder in skipper Lewis Gregory. Add in the super competitive Dutch/South African spinner Roleof van der Merwe, the Overton twins and former West Indies paceman Jerome Taylor and you start to see there’s lots of quality and variety throughout. Not to mention, a powerful tail.
With the odds so tight on all the four teams, they look to be the value as the best-balanced team.
Back Somerset to win T20 Blast @3.9 on Betfair