How the Bookies See it:
|Birmingham v Glamorgan||
|Hampshire v Notts||
Birmingham, T20 champions in 2014, qualified for the quarter-finals after finishing third in the North Group. A rapid stand by New Zealanders Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme then helped them to chase down a target of 205 against highly-fancied Surrey. Off-spinner Jeetan Patel has been the star with the ball, while fearless youngsters such as Ed Pollock and Adam Hose have set a fast tempo with the bat.
Glamorgan have been the surprise package of 2017, having topped the South Group and then swatted aside Leicestershire Foxes in the quarter-finals. Colin Ingram scorched his way to two blistering centuries during the group stage and was well supported by Jacques Rudolph, while Graham Wagg, Michael Hogan and Marchant de Lange also chipped in with crucial contributions.
Hampshire came third in the South Group, before booking their spot at Finals Day with a 101-run demolition of Derbyshire Falcons in the quarter-finals. Pakistani veteran Shahid Afridi was the man of the match against Derbyshire following his astonishing 101 off 43 balls, but England’s James Vince and Mason Crane have also been consistently excellent throughout the competition.
Nottinghamshire, One-Day Cup winners earlier this season, made a slow start to the T20 Blast before storming through as North Group winners. They had one or two nervous moments in their quarter-final against Somerset but won comfortably enough in the end. Four batsmen have scored over 300 runs for Notts in the Blast this year, while England opener Alex Hales’ strike rate has topped 200 following an incredible set of destructive displays.
Nottinghamshire are the clear favourites and it will take something special to knock them out. Hales and Riki Wessels have been sensational at the top of the order, Dan Christian and Samit Patel can provide middle-order fireworks and there is plenty of experience in the bowling attack. However, Notts have been given a tough draw after being pitted against T20 specialists Hampshire, who have made the semi-finals at least in six of the last seven years.
While Glamorgan have been excellent so far this year, they have relied heavily on individual performances from one or two key players and on paper their squad looks weaker than the others. Birmingham will be pleased to be facing them in the first of the semi-finals, and look good value to win the tournament at around 11/4. Playing on their home ground, there is a good mix of youth and experience about Birmingham, with the New Zealand trio of Elliott, de Grandhomme and Patel complemented by some very aggressive young batters and skilful bowlers.
Sports.net’s top tip:
Birmingham Bears to win
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.