With the league stage of the 2018 T20 Vitality Blast competition complete, it’s time for the knockout rounds. So, which teams are still in with a chance of winning the coveted Twenty20 trophy and when will they be in action?
The 2018 T20 Blast Competition – Who’s Playing Who in the Quarter-Finals?
The first of this year’s T20 Blast quarter-finals takes place tomorrow at the Spitfire Ground in Canterbury at 19.00. Kent Spitfires, the runners-up in the South group, will play the winners of the 2015 competition, Lancashire Lightning, who finished in third place in the North group this year.
Durham Jets take on the Sussex Sharks at the Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street, at 18.30 on Friday. Durham, who finished second on the North group table are aiming to win the famous Twenty20 cricket trophy for the first time. Sussex, who ended the league stage in third place within the South group, will be hoping to claim a second T20 Blast title, having triumphed back in 2009.
Saturday sees the North group’s victors, Worcestershire Rapids, battle Gloucestershire, who finished fourth in the South division. The match will take place at 15.00 at Worcester’s Blackfinch New Road ground. Neither team have ever won the trophy, so they’ll both be keen to make their mark on the tournament this year.
The last 2018 Vitality Blast quarter-final starts at 15.00 on Sunday at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton. Somerset, the winners of the South group, will be playing Notts Outlaws, who finished fourth on the North division table. Notts Outlaws are the current trophy holders and will be hoping to become the tournament’s first ever back-to-back title winners. Can they defeat Somerset and gain a place in the semi-finals?
The Potential Title Winners – Which Team Has Got What It Takes to Win?
While Gloucestershire and the Durham Jets were trailing slightly at the weekend when it came to bookies’ odds for claiming the title, there wasn’t much between the other six quarter-finalists, so the results of this week’s ties are difficult to predict. Prior to the tournament, Richard Mann told Sporting Life that Sussex could be the team to watch– and they’ve certainly put in some decent performances so far. However, they’ll be without star bowler, Rashid Khan. They won their final group match against Middlesex without him, but will they feel his absence in the knockout rounds?
Notts Outlaws were amongst the pre-tournament favourites, but didn’t have the easiest of time of it in the group stages. Their quarter-final against Somerset will be a rerun of their first knockout match from last year’s competition. They won that by 5 wickets with nine balls remaining – but will Somerset get revenge this year?
Worcestershire have already made a statement by topping their group and their squad is packed with talented youngsters. Could they make it through to Finals Day for the first time and even go on to win the 2018 title?
It’s never wise to underestimate Lancashire but Matt Walker, the head coach of Kent, their quarter-final opponents, is confident in his team’s abilities. Speaking to Kent Online after qualifying, he said: “We’ve played brilliant cricket… Once you get on a winning roll, you start to believe and things start to happen to you”.
Which teams do you think will make it through to the Vitality Blast semi-finals? Let us know your thoughts about the 2018 tournament in the comments section, on Twitter or on Facebook.