- Surrey v Yorkshire Vikings
- Vitality Blast, Quarter-Final
- Wednesday July 6, 2022, 6.30pm
- Kia Oval
Inaugural winners Surrey face title-less Yorkshire
Into the 20th Blast season, and it is amazing to think that a county of Yorkshire’s size have never won it. Surrey, meanwhile, were the first winners of the Blast back in 2003.
Both teams will be without their captains; Chris Jordan for Surrey and David Willey for Yorkshire because of England’s T20I series against India.
For the same reason, Surrey will also be without Sam Curran, Jason Roy and Reece Topley and Yorkshire Harry Brook and Dawid Malan.
There is a chance Test players Ben Foakes, Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root could return. But no guarantees considering the Test at Edgbaston finishes only tomorrow evening.
Surrey are rightly favourites, but is there a sting in the tail?
I’m more than happy to take on the bookies here and go with Yorkshire at a best-priced 11/8 with Ladbrokes.
Surrey topped the South and Yorkshire finished fourth in the North. Both teams ended the group stage in shaky form. Surrey lost three of their last four games and Yorkshire their last two.
Surrey started their campaign by winning nine of their first 10 games to seal qualification early, while Yorkshire were incredibly lucky to get over the line.
They only qualified yesterday on a technicality.
Yorkshire were beaten by Leicestershire (60 runs) at Grace Road yesterday. That should have qualified the Foxes. It was billed as a winner takes all affair.
But hours before the start, the ECB docked the Foxes two points for poor on-field behaviour in a match against Northants on Friday.
Even the Vikings camp admitted they were lucky to qualify. But is that a sign that their name is on it?
I accept Surrey as the favourites, completely. However, I just can’t take such a short price on a team on the back of three defeats in four and missing so many key players.
Yorkshire have been poor with the ball, but they still have quality with the bat - chiefly in terms of openers Adam Lyth and New Zealander Finn Allen. Pakistani all-rounder Shadab Khan is also waiting to catch fire after a disappointing tournament.
The other reason I can see Yorkshire winning is the Law of Sod!
They should have been out, they’ve had a horrible time of it recently with all the racism stuff going on. Can they finally get some cheer? Yes, is my suspicion.
Shadab Khan to finally come good
Yorkshire fans are waiting for their much vaunted overseas player to catch fire.
The Pakistan leg-spinning all-rounder, a superstar of short form cricket, has been really disappointing across his 10 Blast appearances so far this season.
He has scored only 79 runs in nine innings and taken only seven wickets.
Khan is much, much, much better than that, as his Player of the Tournament tag in the Pakistan Super League earlier in the year suggests. And at some stage, I expect him to produce a performance of note for his county.
There will be a bigger responsibility on his shoulders with the absentees in the Vikings’ team, and I like a couple of bets with him here.
The first is the Player Performance market which bet365 offer. They have him at 5/6 over 32.5 (1 point per run, 20 per wicket and 10 per catch). It is a mark he has achieved twice in his last three matches, despite underperforming.
Though the Player Performance would be my most confident suggestion, I also quite like the 11/4 the same firm offer on him to be Yorkshire’s top bowler in the contest.
* Betting odds correct at the time of writing. Subject to changes.