About the Match
After so many topsy-turvy turns in this Friends Life T20, we are finally down to final four. Hampshire, Essex, Northamptonshire and Surrey fight for the title with first semifinal to be played on 17th August between Hampshire Royals and Surrey Lions. The South Division giants are set to play each other for the final spot which is to be played on the same day. The Royals are the defending champions and will be eyeing yet another title win. Surrey Lions have done well this season and it should be an intriguing contest between the sides.
The Royals is perhaps the most successful team over the course of last three years as far as title wins is concerned. In this season too, the Royals have looked brilliant and they’ve lost only one game and that to Kent Spitfires. Apart from that, they’ve been on the winning side on all occasions in the matches which have yielded results. They escaped the quarterfinals with a 1-run win over Lancashire Lightning, thanks to Michael Carberry’s quick-fire ton. Carberry has been brilliant throughout the season and it isn’t surprising that he has huge expectations on his shoulders now as well. Under the leadership of Dimitri Mascarenhas, this Hampshire side has done exceedingly well and is a perfect candidate for the title win.
The side from London belongs to the same group as their rivals in the upcoming game. They were just behind Hampshire after the conclusion of group stage with seven wins and three loses. As it is quite clear from the fact that Hampshire lost only one match, Surrey Lions lost both of their matches against the Royals in the group stage. Lions just got past Somerset in the quarterfinal by three wickets to march into the semis. This is the first time they’ve made it through the group stage and will be looking to make it count. The road isn’t easy with Royals being their main obstacle, but Surrey is a good unit and have the caliber to win.
Things get most interesting in the knockout phase of any tournament and same is happening in FLT20 as well. With just four teams remaining and the final date coming close, it is imperative to win each and every game as a loss will show the way out. In the semifinal between Royals and Lions, the battle is expected to be fierce as top two south group teams take on each other. Both of the sides have done exceedingly well. Surrey will be hoping for a first ever title victory, but for that to happen, they’d have to get past Royals. Can they do that? Surrey has the experience of Ricky Ponting and Gareth Batty to counter nervous situations in big games. Hampshire Royals, however, has been in phenomenal touch throughout the season and were on the winning side on both times the same sides met. I expect Royals to hunt Lions yet again and cruise to the final spot.
Hampshire Royals, 1.61 @ William Hill