The fourth edition of the NatWest T20 Blast - the most anticipated domestic Twenty20 cricket competition in England and Wales - will kick off from July 7 and will run for about two months till September 2. Just like the previous three editions, the tournament will feature a total of 18 participating counties divided into two groups (North and South) of nine teams each. The group stage will be played over a period of six weeks till August 18 which will then be followed by the quarter-finals from August 22. The semi-finals and the final will all be played a week later on September 2 at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.
During the group stage, each team will play six of the other eight teams in its own group twice, once at its own home ground and once at that of its opponent. The remaining two teams in the group will be played only once, thereby making it a total of 14 group games for each team in the tournament. At the end of the group stage, the top four teams from their respective groups will qualify for the knockout stage comprising of the quarter-finals and the semi-finals. The teams will be ranked in their divisions by total points and then by the net run rate.
Here’s a group-wise listing of all the 18 teams along with their outwright winner betting odds for the NatWest T20 Blast 2017...
They won the inaugural edition in 2014 and made it to the semi-finals in 2015. The previous season wasn't too memorable for them as they finished sixth in the standings after the end of the group stage. Ian Bell who scored the most runs for Birmingham Bears last year and Rikki Clarke who took the most wickets will be crucial to the team's chances this year.
Birmingham Bears have signed New Zealand allrounder Colin de Grandhomme who will look to use his hard-hitting skills with the bat. Fellow allrounder Grant Elliott, who had announced his retirement from one-day international cricket last year, will also be playing for the team this season.
Jonathan Trott, Alex Mellor, Sam Hain, Ian Westwood, Aaron Thomason, Liam Banks, Matthew Lamb, Ed Pollock, Keith Barker, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Ateeq Javid, Chris Woakes, William Porterfield, Rikki Clarke, Andrew Umeed, Tim Ambrose, Colin de Grandhomme, Jeetan Patel, Josh Poysden, Ian Bell, Mark Adair, Boyd Rankin, Chris Wright, Sunny Singh, George Panayi, Olly Stone, Grant Elliot
Birmingham Bears (Warwickshire) had a great first couple of NatWest T20 Blast editions, but a few underwhelming performances from them last time resulted in their exit from the tournament in the group stage itself. They are desperate to shrug off their last year's disappointment and have already begun their preparations for the competition in the United Arab Emirates. Birmingham Bears are a good value at 13 with Bet365.
They are one of the few teams to have never gone past the group stage since the inception of the tournament in 2014. They won just five of their 14 group games last year and ended up seventh on the points table. This year, Hamish Rutherford and James Neesham will be the key players with the bat and the ball respectively for Derbyshire Falcons.
Derbyshire Falcons have recruited South African legspinner Imran Tahir into the side who is currently the world's best bowler in both the 50-over and 20-over format. New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry and Sri Lankan allrounder Jeevan Mendis have also been signed by the team.
Luis Reece, Thomas Wood, Ben Slater, Shiv Thakor, Will Davis, Imran Tahir, Charlie Macdonell, Greg Cork, Daryn Smit, Alex Hughes, Billy Godleman, Rob Hemmings, Jeevan Mendis, Gary Wilson, Wayne Madsen, Hardus Viljoen, Tom Milnes, Tom Taylor, Tony Palladino, Ben Cotton, Matthew Critchley, Harvey Hosein, Matt Henry
Derbyshire will look to set things right in this year's NatWest T20 Blast after failing to make the knockouts round in the previous three seasons. With high-profile signings (especially that of Imran Tahir) and John Wright appointed as the new coach, the Falcons will fancy their chances of going a long way in the tournament. But at the moment, Bet365 has them way up at 41.
They failed to reach the knockout stage in the first two seasons but finished runners-up last time. With six wins and as many losses, Durham Jets ended the group stage as the fourth ranked team last year. Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings will be their best bets with the bat while Chris Rushworth could be the danger man with the ball in this upcoming season.
Jack Burnham, Stephen Cook, James Weighell, Cameron Steel, Tom Latham, Paul Collingwood, Keaton Jennings, Adam Hickey, Ryan Pringle, Ben Stokes, Graham Clark, Stuart Poynter, Michael Richardson, Gavin Main, Graham Onions, Paul Coughlin, Chris Rushworth, Mark Wood, Barry McCarthy, Usman Arshad, Brydon Carse, Josh Coughlin
Durham's impressive showing in the previous season makes them one of the strongest contenders for the NatWest T20 Blast 2017. However, bookmakers are not showing enough confidence in them and they are as high as 17 with Bet365.
They are one of the most successful teams in the tournament having finished runners-up in 2014 and claiming the title the following season. They ended fifth in the standings last time, missing the knockout spot by just a couple of points. Alviro Petersen who averaged 45.50 last year and George Edwards who took 16 wickets are expected to perform well for the Lancashire Lightning.
Sri Lankan batting legend Mahela Jayawardene who had earlier signed up with Lancashire Lightning to play for the entire duration of the NatWest T20 Blast 2017 has pulled himself out of the tournament citing personal reasons. Australian quickie James Faulkner has been denied to play for the county by Cricket Australia due to his prolonged knee injury. Pakistani fast bowler Junaid khan has been roped in to boost the team's bowling stocks.
Rob Jones, Liam Livingstone, Haseeb Hameed, Karl Brown, Luke Procter, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, Ryan McLaren, Danny Lamb, Alex Davies, Jos Buttler, Dane Vilas, Brooke Guest, Toby Lester, Stephen Parry, James Anderson, Tom Bailey, Arron Lilley, Saqib Mahmood, Kyle Jarvis, Matt Parkinson, Junaid Khan
The former champions will look to repeat their 2015 NatWest T20 Blast success this season and will start the tournament at 15 with Bet365.
They are yet to make an appearance in the quarter-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast tournament. The previous season was a very disappointing one for them as they finished the group stage being the bottom-most team. Mark Pettini and Mark Cosgrove will be the ones to watch out for with the bat while Clint McKay and Ben Raine are likely to do the job with the ball.
Sharjeel Khan is currently undergoing suspension for being involved in match-fixing during the Pakistan Super League tournament. The Pakistani batsman has been replaced by New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi.
Harry Dearden, Paul Horton, Angus Robson, Ben Raine, Mark Cosgrove, Aadil Ali, Cameron Delport, Will Fazakerley, Colin Ackermann, Neil Dexter, Kevin O’Brien, Callum Parkinson, James Burke, Lewis Hill, Ned Eckersley, Luke Ronchi, Charlie Shreck, Gavin Griffiths, Tom Wells, Rob Sayer, Richard Jones, Mark Pettini, Zak Chappell, Clint McKay, Dieter Klein, James Sykes
Bet365 has Leicestershire Foxes at 34 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
The last two seasons went really well for them. They came runners-up in 2015 and ended up winning the competition last time. They won seven group games last year and finished second on the points table. Ben Duckett and Josh Cobb will be Northamptonshire's best men with the bat. Rory Kleinveldt and Richard Gleeson were their best bowlers last year and the two will be their go-to bowlers for taking wickets once again.
Max Holden, Ben Duckett, Alex Wakely, Rob Keogh, Richard Levi, Nathan Buck, Saif Zaib, Rory Kleinveldt, Steven Crook, Seekkuge Prasanna, Adam Rossington, David Murphy, Rob Newton, Ben Sanderson, Richard Gleeson, Graeme White, Tom Sole, Azharullah, Josh Cobb, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Northamptonshire Steelbacks are 15 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
They have reached the knockout stage two times out of three, once in 2014 and once in 2016. With 8 wins from the 14 group games, Nottinghamshire Outlaws topped the standings last year but unfortunately could not go past the semi-finals. Riki Wessels who scored 420 runs for them last time will hold the key in their batting. Harry Gurney took 17 wickets and the team will rely on his pace again when it comes to bowling.
Nottinghamshire Outlaws have drafted Australian allrounder Dan Christian and New Zealand legspinner Ish Sodhi into the side and both these players will be available for the entire tournament.
Michael Lumb, Brendan Taylor, Alex Hales, Greg Smith, Billy Root, Steven Mullaney, Harry Gurney, Dan Christian, Matthew Carter, Jake Libby, Riki Wessels, Chris Read, Stuart Broad, Tom Moores, Luke Wood, Luke Fletcher, Samit Patel, Brett Hutton, Jake Ball, Ben Kitt, James Pattinson, Ish Sodhi
Nottinghamshire Outlaws have been the team to beat in this tournament and they will look to replicate their performance from last season. They are one of the stronger contenders for the title this year and will start at 10 with Bet365.
They made it past the group stage in the first two editions but failed to do so in the previous one where they finished second to bottom in the standings after the end of the group stage. Worcestershire will have high hopes on Brett D'Oliveira and Tom Kohler-Cadmore with the bat. Joe Leach was one of the leading wicket-takers last year and the fast bowler will be the key in their bowling attack.
Joe Leach, Daryl Mitchell, Ed Barnard, Ollie Westbury, Ben Twohig, Brett D’Oliveira, Ross Whiteley, Alex Hepburn, Alexei Kervezee, George Rhodes, Josh Tongue, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Moeen Ali, John Hastings, Mitchell Santner, Ben Cox, Joe Clarke, Jack Shantry, Tom Fell, Charlie Morris
Worcestershire Rapids are 17 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
They made their maiden appearance in the semi-finals last year after finishing at the third place in the league standings with seven wins and five losses. They did struggle with their batting though last time with Adam Lyth scoring the most runs for them. Tim Bresnan bagged 21 wickets to finish as the third-highest wicket-taker of the season and the Vikings will back him to deliver the goods with the ball this year as well.
Travis Head, who had earlier signed up with Yorkshire Vikings, has been pulled out of the tournament by Cricket Australia to join the Australia A squad in South Africa. The county has now roped in fellow Australian batsman Shaun Marsh into the side. Top-order batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore who previously played for Worcestershire is another addition to the team.
Joe Root, Tim Bresnan, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Jack Leaning, Harry Brook, Adil Rashid, Matthew Waite, Johnny Read, Azeem Rafiq, Matthew Fisher, Will Rhodes, David Willey, Gary Ballance, Andrew Hodd, Jonny Bairstow, Steven Patterson, Peter Handscomb, Ben Coad, Ryan Sidebottom, James Wainman, Shaun Marsh, Ryan Gibson, Josh Shaw, Liam Plunkett, Karl Carver, Jared Warner, Jack Brooks
Yorkshire are 10 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017 despite having performed poorly in this format of the game. However, there will be a lot of expectations from them this time around as the team will be coached by Jason Gillespie who was responsible for the successful run of Adelaide Strikers in the previous Big Bash League season.
One of the most consistent sides in the tournament, Essex Eagles have made it to the quarter-finals each time but they have not been able to go beyond that. They won seven league matches last season and ended up fourth on the points table. Batting is going to rely mainly on Ashar Zaidi and Tom Westley who made decent contributions last time. Graham Napier was the season's second-best bowler with 22 wickets and he will be the biggest threat in Essex's bowling lineup.
The team's bowling prowess is set to get a boost with the inclusion of Pakistan pace sensation Mohammad Amir who has signed up with the county to play during the second-half of the tournament.
Kishen Velani, Nick Browne, Callum Taylor, Simon Harmer, Daniel Lawrence, Ravi Bopara, Mohammad Amir, Aaron Beard, Tom Westley, Varun Chopra, Ryan ten Doeschate, Adam Wheater, Ashar Zaidi, Neil Wagner, James Foster, Aron Nijjar, Paul Walter, Matt Dixon, Jamie Porter, Matt Quinn
Essex Eagles are 15 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
They have reached the quarter-finals twice, once in 2014 and then in 2016. They gave a good performance last year finishing second on the points table after winning eight group-stage matches. Colin Ingram shone with the bat for Glamorgan last year scoring 502 runs at a healthy average of 41.83 while Timm van der Gugten was impressive with the ball picking up 19 wickets. These two will be the vital cogs in the team's lineup this year.
Glamorgan have signed South African fast bowler Marchant de Lange who will be playing for the county for the next three editions of the NatWest T20 Blast.
Jeremy Lawlor, Jacques Rudolph, Aneurin Donald, Nick Selman, Jack Murphy, Colin Ingram, David Lloyd, Graham Wagg, Owen Morgan, Ruaidhri Smith, Kiran Carlson, Craig Meschede, Chris Cooke, Will Bragg, Andrew Salter, Kieran Bull, Michael Hogan, Will Owen, Timm van der Gugten, Lukas Carey, Marchant de Lange
Glamorgan are 23 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
After failing to go past the group stage the first couple of seasons, Gloucestershire made their maiden appearance in the quarter-finals last year after topping the South Group standings with ten wins from fourteen matches. Michael Klinger and Ian Cockbain scored aplenty for them last year and they will be expected to lead with the bat once more. Benny Howell was the season's highest-wicket taker with 24 wickets and he is going to be their key man with the ball this year.
William Tavaré, Michael Klinger, George Hankins, Chris Dent, Cameron Bancroft, Ian Cockbain, Jack Taylor, Brandon Gilmour, Graeme van Buuren, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Craig Miles, Benny Howell, Patrick Grieshaber, Gareth Roderick, James Bracey, Phil Mustard, David Payne, Tom Smith, Chris Liddle, Liam Norwell, Matthew Taylor, Andrew Tye, Miles Hammond
Gloucestershire are 17 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
The team could win only four group matches last year, and as a result, finished eighth in the South Group standings. However, they did a lot better in the two seasons before where they went on to reach the semi-finals each time. They struggled with the bat last time around with Liam Dawson being the only batsman to have averaged close to 30. The allrounder also took 19 wickets for Hampshire which makes him the one to watch out for.
Joe Weatherley, Jimmy Adams, George Bailey, Tom Alsop, Michael Carberry, James Vince, Ben Duggan, Rilee Rossouw, Sean Ervine, Will Smith, Gareth Berg, Liam Dawson, Asher Hart, Chris Wood, Ryan Stevenson, Jake Goodwin, Kyle Abbott, Josh McCoy, Fraser Hay, Calvin Dickinson, Lewis McManus, Mason Crane, Reece Topley, Brad Wheal, Fidel Edwards, Brad Taylor
Hampshire are 11 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
The 2015 edition was the most successful for them when they made it to the quarter-finals. Last year, they bowed out of the competition as the seventh ranked team in their group standings with six wins and eight defeats. Sam Northeast and Daniel Bell-Drummond will be relied upon heavily with the bat. David Griffiths picked up 13 wickets in as many matches last year and the Spitfires will be having high hopes on him once again.
Joe Weatherley, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Alex Blake, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Sam Billings, Darren Stevens, Adam Rouse, Calum Haggett, Adam Ball, Matt Hunn, Fabian Cowdrey, Matt Coles, Sam Northeast, Will Gidman, Ivan Thomas, Mitchell Claydon, Imran Qayyum, Sean Dickson, James Tredwell, Charlie Hartley, Hugh Bernard, Adam Riley, Jimmy Neesham, Yasir Shah
Kent Spitfires are 17 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
After facing disappointment in the first two editions, Middlesex made their way to the quarter-finals last season after finishing third in the group standings with seven wins from fourteen games. This year, they will be backing Dawid Malan with the bat who struck four fifties last time. Toby Roland-Jones and James Fuller who picked up 17 and 14 wickets each will be the key bowlers for the side.
Middlesex have re-signed former New Zealand captain and batsman Brendon McCullum for this year's NatWest T20 Blast and he will be joined by Kiwi pace bowler Tim Southee.
Paul Stirling, Max Holden, Tim Southee, Nick Compton, Sam Robson, Ryan Higgins, Nick Gubbins, James Franklin, Adam Voges, John Simpson, Brendon McCullum, George Scott, Eoin Morgan, Robbie White, Dawid Malan, Stephen Eskinazi, James Harris, Tom Helm, Steven Finn, Ollie Rayner, Harry Podmore, Martin Andersson, James Fuller, Tim Murtagh, Ravi Patel, Nathan Sowter
Middlesex are 12 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
They are yet to make an appearance in the knockout stage of the NatWest T20 Blast tournament. Things went horribly wrong for them last year when they ended up being the bottom-most team in the South Group with just three wins in the bag. Somerset will expect Jim Allenby and Peter Trego to deliver the goods with the bat while Jamie Overton and Max Waller will be their biggest hopes with the ball.
Marcus Trescothick, Dominic Bess, Johann Myburgh, Tim Groenewald, Tom Abell, James Hildreth, George Bartlett, Eddie Byrom, Jim Allenby, Peter Trego, Craig Overton, Lewis Gregory, Michael Leask, Josh Davey, Dean Elgar, Ben Green, Roelof van der Merwe, Ryan Davies, Steven Davies, Adam Hose, Jamie Overton, Max Waller, Jack Leach, Tim Rouse, Paul van Meekeren, Ollie Sale
Somerset are 13 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
The semi-finalists of the 2014 edition could not quite replicate their performance in the previous two editions. Last year, they fell short of a quarter-final berth by a whisker as they finished fifth on their group's points table with seven wins and as many losses. Jason Roy hit two hundreds and two fifties and he will be Surrey's key man with the bat. Bowling was a big let down and they will want Sam Curran to change that this season.
Australian explosive batsman Aaron Finch has re-signed with Surrey and he will be available for the entire duration of the tournament. England's batting star Kevin Pietersen has also re-signed with the county as he won't be featuring in the upcoming Caribbean Premier League.
Aaron Finch, Kumar Sangakkara, Rory Burns, James Burke, Jason Roy, Sam Curran, Mark Stoneman, Scott Borthwick, Dominic Sibley, Gareth Batty, Arun Harinath, Zafar Ansari, Jade Dernbach, Ben Foakes, Ollie Pope, Matt Dunn, Kevin Pietersen, Mark Footitt, Freddie van den Bergh, Stuart Meaker, Amar Virdi, Mathew Pillans, Tom Curran, Ravi Rampaul, Conor McKerr
Surrey won their first ever English domestic T20 competition back in 2003 and since then, they have finished runners-up on two occasions and have entered the semi-finals thrice. In Jason Roy, Aaron Finch, Kevin Pietersen and Kumar Sangakkara, they have a formidable top-order batting which makes them a strong contender. Surrey will start off as tournament favorites at 9 with Bet365.
They reached the quarter-finals in 2015 but could not do so last year where they came sixth in the South Group standings. They won five and lost six group-stage games. Ross Taylor scored 394 runs for Sussex including three fifties at an average of around 56 and he is going to be a key member in their batting lineup. Fast bowlers Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan both bowled well and the skipper will turn to them for getting wickets.
Sussex Sharks have signed veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor. However, his availability will largely depend on his fitness levels.
Ross Taylor (c), Chris Nash, Matt Machan, Philip Salt, Luke Wells, Laurie Evans, George Garton, Tom Haines, David Wiese, Tymal Mills, Stiaan van Zyl, Harry Finch, Luke Wright, Delray Rawlins, Jofra Archer, Ajmal Shahzad, Ben Brown, Abidine Sakande, Will Beer, Danny Briggs, Chris Jordan, Ollie Robinson, Ed Joyce, Stu Whittingham, Steve Magoffin, Vernon Philander
Sussex Sharks are 17 with Bet365 to win the NatWest T20 Blast 2017.
Nottinghamshire Outlaws, Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Yorkshire Vikings and Birmingham Bears (Warwickshire) are the four teams from North Group that we feel are more likely to advance to the knockout stage this season. Nottinghamshire have made six knockout-stage appearances in their previous seven attempts and they will start off as one of the strongest title contenders. Northamptonshire are the reigning champions and they almost won the tournament in 2015. Yorkshire have almost always been the underdogs in this format but under the stewardship of Jason Gillespie, who took the Adelaide Strikers to new heights in the last season of the Big Bash League, they are favorites to at least make it to the top four. Warwickshire - winners of the inaugural edition and semi-finalists of 2015 - are looking set to go a long way once again.
From the South Group, it is Surrey, Hampshire, Glamorgan and Essex Eagles who we feel could make it through to the knockouts. Surrey won the first season of the Twenty20 Cup in 2003 and have since then been runners-up on two and semi-finalist on three other occasions. Hampshire had a rough time last year and they will be eager to better their performance this time. They did however qualify for the knockouts in each of the seven T20 domestic seasons before the last and they have a good chance of qualifying again this year. Glamorgan have two quarter final appearances in their last three NatWest T20 Blast seasons while Essex have been finishing in the top four since the last five T20 domestic seasons.
Nottinghamshire Outlaws have been one of the most consistent teams with an overall win percentage close to 60. Although the other seven teams are equally capable of winning the NatWest T20 Blast 2017, we predict Nottinghamshire to go all the way this year.