About the Match
It’s down to top four in Friends Life T20 and a loss would shatter all the dreams after being so close to the title. Essex Eagles are set to take on Northamptonshire Steelbacks in one of the semifinals on August 17th 2013 at Birmingham. The Steelbacks haven’t added to their silverware collection since 1992 and they cannot have a better opportunity than this one. The Eagles on the other hand have made five appearances in finals day and this time they’d be looking to grab the ultimate prize. Both the teams have defied all odds of making it to the semis, but now both the sides look excellent and an exhilarating battle is certainly on the cards.
Despite having an excellent side, their road to the finals’ day hasn’t been easy. They’ve faced quite a few dramatic defeats including the one in which they were folded for a paltry total. The Eagles were one of the two sides to qualify on the basis of being third best team in a group. Essex is a team with huge potential and at the same time is one of the most unpredictable team. With Rutherford, Smith and Pettini at the top, they can get off to a flying start and leave it to the likes of Shah and Doeschate to capitalize upon a solid start. They have Shaun Tait who took a hat-trick in quarterfinals to guide Eagles to victory. The Eagles might have been a laughing stock for many due to their batting performances, but they certainly are capable of adding a silverware in their closet.
Unlike Essex Eagles, the story for Steelbacks is rather simple; they started their campaign in brilliant fashion and never looked back. They’ve shown superb performance this year, thanks to Azharullah who has been perhaps the best bowler of the competition so far. They might not have the services of many flamboyant slam-bang players, but they still have an excellent team combination. Richard Levi is expected to be back from international duty which will definitely bolster their chances. The team has prospered well under the captaincy of Cameron White who himself has been in fine form. Having made this far, the Steelbacks have nothing to lose and everything to gain which makes them an even more dangerous side.
Northamptonshire Steelbacks have shown that what teamwork can do in Cricket. They managed to beat sides like Durham and Somerset in the competition and are looking good to all the way. However, their immediate problem is Essex, and they must beat Eagles in this crucial game. Eagles have shown huge potential and have ruined them as well. They have an excellent side on paper with Doeschate, Shah and Tait, but as they’ve been very unpredictable, this game is expected to be a close fight. I’d still go with Essex Eagles simply due to the fact that they’ve excellent side with good batting and bowling department and that too in excellent form.
Essex Eagles, 1.80 @ William Hill