Cricket

T20 Blast preview: Hampshire & Co. targeting quarter-final spot

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With the group stages of the 2014 Natwest T20 Blast almost complete, there are quarter-final spots that are still to be decided as we head into the penultimate week of fixtures.

Quarter-finals

Lancashire recently became the first side to book their progression through to the final eight, but who will join them?

Beginning by crossing the Pennines, Yorkshire can join their rivals in the knockout stages with a victory at home to Warwickshire. The Vikings come into the game on the back of two consecutive wins over Durham and Derbyshire and will be looking to the international experience that they possess.

Tim Bresnan and Jonny Bairstow will help with both bat and ball. However, last time out, an unbeaten 67 from Alex Lees proved pivotal in providing victory.

Their opponents, Warwickshire – currently fifth in the North Group – still harbour ambitions of qualifying for the latter stages.

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Northamptonshire will be looking to take advantage of their game in hand, but will first look to take two points from their home encounter against Worcestershire.

Victory for the hosts would put them a point behind the New Road side with two games to spare.

Two of the bottom three northern counties meet when Leicestershire host Durham – the visitors have slim hopes of progression due to the fact that they have a game in hand as well.

The only game in the region that has little riding on it is the game between Lancashire and Derbsyshire at Old Trafford. The top and bottom sides from the group meet, where Lancashire know that another win will secure first place at the end of the round-robin fixtures. 

Top spot 

In the south, Essex have already guaranteed their passage to the final eight, but they can move closer to assuring themselves of top spot with victory away to Glamorgan.

They will benefit from the presence of Ravi Bopara, who has been averaging 74 in the competition this season. More runs from the all-rounder will make them more likely to secure a favourable quarterfinal draw.

Pietersen

Hot of the tails of the Eagles are Surrey, buoyed by the return of Kevin Pietersen, who recorded his highest domestic score of the campaign with 39 in a three-wicket win over Somerset on Wednesday.

Hampshire can secure their place in the knockout stages with a win at home to Sussex, who are clinging onto slim hopes of qualification themselves.

Last time out – in a five-wicket victory against Glamorgan – the Sharks were indebted to Luke Wright. Despite not operating as a bowler, the all-rounder scored 66 at the top of the order to secure the two points.

The final game in this round of fixtures sees Somerset travel to Kent, with Marcus Trescothick’s side without the services of their top scorer, Craig Kieswetter.

The international wicketkeeper is suffering with a severe facial injury, which will rule him out of helping Somerset press for a top-four finish.

Full Natwest T20 Blast fixtures for Friday 18th July:

Gloucestershire vs Surrey

Leicestershire vs Durham

Yorkshire vs Warwickshire

Glamorgan vs Essex

Lancashire vs Derbyshire

Northamptonshire vs Worcestershire

Hampshire vs Sussex

Kent vs Somerset

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Topics:
T20
Kevin Pietersen
Jonny Bairstow
Tim Bresnan
Cricket

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