Twenty20 Blast Team Guide: Glamorgan and Northants likely to be underrated again

Sangakkara is part of a star-studded Surrey
Sangakkara is part of a star-studded Surrey

Ed Hawkins looks at the strengths and weaknesses for the domestic Twenty20 and picks out the counties who could spring a surprise at big odds...

"Alex Hales' record-breaking destruction of Surrey in the Royal London mean the Outlaws are well supported. They are too short now with the value gone"

To win North Group

Birmingham Bears 13/2

Captain: Ian Bell
Overseas: Jeetan Patel (NZ), Colin de Grandhomme (NZ).

Grant Elliott adds class and nous as a Kolpak player and the Bears will expect to qualify. They have not made a finals day since 2015, though, and their fans are pessimistic about their chances.

Derbyshire Falcons 20/1

Captain: Gary Wilson
Overseas: Matt Henry (NZ), Imran Tahir (SA)

Derbyshire's shrewdest signing was coach John Wright, who guided Mumbai Indians to IPL glory. The talent he has here is nowhere near as strong but Henry and Tahir are excellent signings and they could go close to a surprise qualification for the knockouts. They lack one classy batsman for a major punt.

Durham Jets 12/1

Captain: Paul Coughlin
Overseas: Tom Latham (NZ)

This lot were runners-up last season and a repeat run to finals day looks unlikely. They have lost Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick while Mark Wood and Ben Stokes, their England stars, may not be around much.

Lancashire Lightning 5/1

Captain: Steven Croft
Overseas: Junaid Khan (Pak), Ryan McLaren (SA)

This is a strong squad, Largely because Jos Buttler looks set to be available for the tournament. Junaid has been in excellent form for Pakistan and McLaren adds some guts in the middle-order and wily tricks with the ball. They should go close.

Leicestershire Foxes 20/1

Captain: Clint McKay
Overseas: McKay (NZ), Luke Ronchi (NZ)

There was a time when Leicestershire were regulars in finals days. They are the only county to have won three of them. But that was six years ago. McKay's excellent death bowling and Ronchi's power aside, their recent poor run could continue.

Northamptonshire Steelbacks 13/2

Captain: Alex Wakely
Overseas: Rory Kleinveldt (SA), Seekuge Prasanna (SL), Tabraiz Shamsi (SA)

The Steelbacks have made three of the last four finals days. So why are they so big? Because they're an unfashionable county. They are choc full of specialists and we would be surprised if they didn't make the business end once again. Shamsi is deputing for Seekuge for the first three weeks.

Notts Outlaws 3/1

Captain: Dan Christian
Overseas: Christian (Aus), Ish Sodhi (NZ)

Alex Hales' record-breaking destruction of Surrey in the Royal London mean the Outlaws are well supported. They are too short now with the value gone. They could be difficult to stop, though, with a last finals day appearance in 2016 suggesting they are building a head of steam.

Worcestershire Rapids 10/1

Captain: Joe Leach
Overseas: John Hastings (Aus), Mitchell Santner

Another county underrated because they are unfashionable and don't boast big names. But they have solid one-day plans as they showed in the Royal London and there are far worse picks around at this price. We quite fancy them for a run to finals.

Yorkshire Vikings 3/1

Captain: Tim Bresnan
Overseas: Peter Handscomb (Aus), Shaun Marsh (Aus)

Those are two impressive overseas signing. But do they really need two batsmen when they are already blessed in that department? A death bowler of international repute might have been of more use. They're not for us at the odds because they consistently disappoint.

South Group

Essex Eagles

Captain: Ryan ten Doeschate
Overseas; Mohammad Amir (Pak)

Ten Doeschate runs a tight ship these days and they are not quite the champagne charlies of the past. A bit more steel and a long batting line-up gives them a fine chance of making the semi-finals at least. Indeed, they will be rightfully disappointed if they don't make it to the showpiece.

Glamorgan Dragons

Captain: Jacques Rudolph
Overseas: Rudolph (SA)

We like this lot. Admittedly most of all because of a likely whopping price once the market matures. They have good plans and a good ethic. And if they had a spin bowler they would go very close indeed. Marchant de Lang and Colin Ingram play as Kolpaks so they have great depth.

Gloucestershire Gladiators

Captain: Michael Klinger
Overseas: Thisara Perera (SL)

They would have been our pick had the excellent AJ Tye been fit. Alas not. Perera is an okay replacement for the irreplaceable. Klinger is a run machine but we can't see Gloucs making finals day - it's ten years since their last.


Captain: George Bailey
Overseas: Shahid Afridi (Pak)

With the signing of Afridi it is tempting to reckon that Hampshire are not taking this one seriously. But if they play him as a bowler and view him as lower-order thrasher whose runs are a bonus, they might be okay. But if he's in the top six we will be shaking our heads. Bailey is superb and their batting is strong.

Kent Spitfires

Captain: Sam Northeast
Overseas: Jimmy Neesham (NZ), Adam Milne

Good work Kent. Those are two fine overseas captures and they bolster a strong squad with Sam Billings and Darren Stevens pivotal players. We expect them to get out of the group.


Captain: Brendon McCullum/Dawid Malan
Overseas: McCullum (NZ), Tim Southee

No thanks. Any team which reckons McCullum is value for money has their priorities wrong. This lot will be one of the strongest contenders for 'can bat but can't bowl' tag. So we avoid like the plague. At the likely price they should be well-balanced. They're not.


Captain: Jim Allenby
Overseas: Corey Anderson

Somerset won three last season and lost ten. So there needs to be an extraordinary turnaround for them to qualify. They will improve but not by enough. Anderson could well be one of the most overrated overseas players. And the Taunton track is so good for batting that their bowlers can lose confidence in their skills.


Captain: Gareth Batty
Overseas: Aaron Finch (aus), Kumar Sangakkara (SL), Moises Henriques (Aus)

They are too short. Largely because Kevin Pietersen puts the kybosh on every franchise he turns out for. He still hasn't won a domestic title and we don't expect that run to end here.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2017: +13.68pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017.
*Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting

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