- Nottinghamshire topped the North Group with 20 points before comfortably beating Essex by 39 runs in the quarter-finals. Riki Wessels has been Notts’ highest run-scorer so far in the competition and the batting line-up looks formidable, especially with England’s Alex Hales available to come in and bolster the top order.
- Northamptonshire finished second in the North Group and then cruised to a seven-wicket win over Middlesex in the quarter-finals. They won the tournament in 2013, were runners-up last year and keep punching above their weight despite appearing to have fewer star players than many other counties.
- Yorkshire demolished Glamorgan by 90 runs in their quarter-final after coming third in the North Group. The team is packed with firepower, especially with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow coming in to join fellow England limited-overs specialists David Willey, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett.
- Durham have not been to Finals Day since 2008 and only just went through from the North Group in fourth place, before beating South Group winners Gloucestershire by 19 runs in the quarter-finals. A lot will depend on England’s Ben Stokes, who is playing just as a batsman, and Paul Collingwood, still going strong at the age of 40.
Yorkshire are the understandable favourites as they have so many potential match-winners with bat and ball. Tim Bresnan is the leading T20 wicket-taker in 2016 across the four teams to have made it to Finals Day and forms part of a very balanced attack, which includes the swing of David Willey, leg-spin of Adil Rashid and pace of Liam Plunkett. Willey is also an extremely dangerous opening batsman and, even if he fails, players beneath him such as Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Jack Leaning have the power to decide a game in just a few overs.
Durham have to beat Yorkshire in the semi-finals just to get through to the final and have an opportunity to lift the trophy, and their star man Stokes may be just a bit too rusty after being injured for the past few weeks. Northamptonshire have made a habit of defying the critics but they look too dependent on the emerging Ben Duckett, so Nottinghamshire are probably the most likely challengers to Yorkshire.
Riki Wessels and Michael Lumb have been outstanding together at the top of the order in limited-overs cricket this season and, with Alex Hales also returning, odds of 4/5 on Notts to have the highest opening partnership against Northants look good value. Notts may not quite have Yorkshire’s strength in depth but they do have the best T20 record of anyone this season. With the weather looking unsettled for Saturday and the possibility of matches being shortened, the better price on Notts to be crowned champions may well be worth taking.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Nottinghamshire to win the T20 Blast - 2/1