June 19, 2019, 21:58

T20 Blast Finals Day: Cracking cricket, Mascot Race and sing-off!

T20 Blast Finals Day: Cracking cricket, Mascot Race and sing-off!

Four teams, three games, a Mascot Race and a sing-off – you won’t want to miss a minute of NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston!

Birmingham Bears, Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire Outlaws and Hampshire are the sides left standing at Saturday’s showpiece event, which you can catch live from 10.30am on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event.

Bears won the Blast title on their own track in 2014, overcoming Yorkshire, and will aim to do so again this year by beating Glamorgan in their last-four clash (11am) and then the winner of the second semi-final between Notts and Hampshire (2.30pm) in the final (6.45pm).

Live NatWest T20 Blast Cricket

September 2, 2017, 10:30am

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Hants vs Notts

September 2, 2017, 2:15pm

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Glamorgan and Notts will be trying to land the first Blast crowns, with the Welsh side losing in the semi-finals in their only Finals Day appearance to date in 2004, and Notts, despite boasting one of the most powerful sides around, failing to better their second-place finish in 2006.

Hampshire, on the other hand, will be looking to match Leicester as the only sides to win the competition three times, with the south coast outfit previously prevailing in Southampton in 2010 and in Cardiff 2012.

Live NatWest T20 Blast Cricket

September 2, 2017, 6:00pm

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2016 champions Northamptonshire Steelbacks did not reach Finals Day but a title COULD be successfully defended at Edgbaston, with Gloucestershire’s Alfred The Gorilla set to go ‘ape’ if he can win back-to-back Mascot Races – that contest is scheduled to start just after 2pm.

There will be a slight twist this year, too, but you’ll have to watch the race to find out what it is…

Of course, Finals Day wouldn’t be Finals Day without Bumble, who will be part of a power-packed commentary team in the Pod, including Nasser Hussain, Mike Atherton, Rob Key and Andrew Flintoff – but it seems describing the action won’t be their only act of the day.

Bumble and Freddie have been playing a game of one-upmanship about their singing abilities on social media, with a sing-off set to take place in Birmingham. Whether Nas joins in with a warble remains to be seen…

Birmingham Bears
(Third in North Group, beat Surrey in quarter-finals)

Birmingham are into Finals Day for the third time in four years, with skipper and veteran New Zealander Grant Elliott, steering his side past Surrey in the last eight with an unbeaten 59. You decide for yourself whether he should have been caught by Rory Burns on 46 at The Oval.

Bears’ other Kiwis could also be key. Jeetan Patel has 20 wickets – only Leicestershire’s Clint McKay (23) tops that – while Colin de Grandhomme, a name you don’t forget in a hurry, can hit maximums for fun. Young English stars Ed Pollock and Adam Hose are partial to a six – or plenty – as well!

Birmingham all-rounder Chris Woakes has been given permission by England to play and he has previous on Finals Day after bowling Bears to victory over Lancashire in the 2014 Final – Flintoff and Stephen Parry only able to bag nine of the 14 runs required from Woakes’ 20th over.

(First in South Group, beat Leicestershire in quarter-finals)

Glamorgan lost to Leicestershire in the semi-finals in 2004 but a win over the Foxes in this term’s quarters propelled them to their second Finals Day – and with six-machine Colin Ingram in tow, they will be a tough team to top.

Ingram has thrashed a tournament-leading 30 maximums – having bossed the six standings in 2016 with 29 – with the South African walloping nine of those while scoring a century against Essex at Chelmsford, a week after he had pumped a hundred against Sussex at Arundel.

Aneurin Donald also gives the ball a tonk, while skipper Jacques Rudolph, in his final season as a player, has chipped in with three fifties, plus, in the bowling department, Ingram’s leg-spin gives Glamorgan a handy option to go alongside the seam of Marchant de Lange and Michael Hogan.

Nottinghamshire Outlaws
(First in the North Group, beat Somerset in quarter-finals)

With Messrs Hales, Wessels, Patel, Christian, Taylor and Mullaney, Notts possess arguably the most potent batting line-up on the circuit. Their bowling – Ish Sodi, Jake Ball, Harry Gurney – isn’t too shabby either and will be swelled at Finals Day by Stuart Broad, with England letting him play.

Openers Riki Wessels and Alex Hales figure fifth and eighth respectively on the run-scoring charts and both have smashed centuries, with Wessels becoming the first Notts batsman to three figures in the Blast, against Derbyshire, before Hales struck Yorkshire for a ton.

Their most dazzling display came against Durham, with Wessels and Hales carting 106 runs in the six powerplay overs, a T20 best. Hales did most of the work en route to a stunning 95 from just 30 deliveries, blazing nine sixes as he fell just short of matching Chris Gayle’s record 30-ball IPL ton.

(Third in South Group, beat Derbyshire in quarter-finals)

Hampshire also possess a blazing opener – even if he’s only just started opening! Shahid Afridi pleaded with the Hants hierarchy to move him up the order against Derbyshire and, boy, did that pay off as his maiden T20 ton powered the side to a seventh Finals Day in eight years.

Afridi (12 wickets) also forms part of a potent spin-bowling trio, alongside Liam Dawson (12 wickets) and Mason Crane (17 wickets) – leg-spinner Crane, like Broad and Woakes, has been given permission to play by England, ahead of a potential Test bow against Windies at Lord’s next week.

England haven’t called on James Vince for some time now but four fifties in this term’s Blast, three of which have come in his last four games, show his considerable talent, while Kyle Abbott and Gareth Berg, with a combined 29 wickets, are Hants’ chief pace threats.

Watch Birmingham v Glamorgan (10.30am) and Nottinghamshire v Hampshire (2pm) as well as the final (6.15pm), live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event on Saturday.

Sourse: skysports.com

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