With the NatWest T20 Blast ready to go into the knockout stage it is time for the other one day competition to begin, as the county cricket fans and players get ready for a diet of 50 over cricket for a month in the Royal London One Day Cup.
This particular event has become the lesser of the three domestic competitions, but for the two sides who make it to Lord’s for the final it will become the main event.
From a betting point of view I prefer to stick with sides who don’t have a lot to play for in the Championship in this competition. First-class cricket reaches the nitty gritty stage towards the end of this tournament so anyone in contention for that might give their youngsters a run out in this, and save the main players for the four-day game.
The 18 counties are split into two groups. Group A consists of Derbyshire, Durham, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Northants, Somerset, Surrey, Worcestershire and Surrey. It is fair to say this is the weaker of the two, even though the defending champions Durham are in it. Somerset and Surrey have poor seasons to rectify in this tournament but I can’t ignore Worcestershire’s price.
Worcestershire have gone really well in the T20 and will host Hampshire in the quarter-final of that competition, and that form gives them plenty to build on in the 50 over competition. Experienced heads like Daryl Mitchell, Alex Gidman, Jack Shantry and Saeed Ajmal mix with a good core of youngsters who play an energetic, enterprising style of cricket that gets results despite their unfancied status. They look a big price from a group they must fancy their chances of qualifying from.
In the other group I like last year’s semi-finalists Kent. Kent have strolled to the top spot in the South Group of the T20 and they have done it in an entertaining way with a largely young side playing fearless cricket. They have a good bowling attack for one day cricket and a long enough batting line-up to be able to play their shots and that is a good combination.
Group B is very much the tougher group. Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Sussex and Warwickshire are all excellent one day sides but some of them will be losing players to England’s ODI side towards the end of the competition and others have business to take care of in the Championship. Kent went well in this last year and with the platform of a confident T20 run to build from I expect them to go well again.
Worcestershire each way at 25/1 – Bet365
Kent each way at 20/1 – Coral