Vitality T20 Blast 2019 is about to get underway from the 18th of July and we are very excited to see the T20 season begin! As far as T20 tournaments go, there is no competition to the Vitality T20 Blast being the biggest one in terms of matches and the number of competing teams. So if you are looking to bet on cricket, you couldn't find a better time than now with all the games going on.
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There are going to be two groups (North and South) of nine teams each which are going to play each other twice before the Finals Day Vitality Blast 2019 where the title fight plays out. Let’s have a quick look at some of the teams featuring in the tournament this year and some of the players to look out for.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 7th in the North Group (5W, 7L, 2NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Wayne Madsen, Billy Godleman, Ravi Rampaul
Derbyshire was brilliantly inconsistent in the 2018 T20 Blast. It lost four matches on the trot and then won five straight after to be back in contention for a Final’s day spot. Some losses in the end and the rain prevented that from happening, though.
This season, injuries to Billy Stanlake and Kane Richardson have meant that the Derbyshire Falcons may be playing with just one overseas player. Wayne Madsen and Billy Godleman may be getting older but they still remain the backbone of this side.
The batting looks thin after these two and there are no real quality spinners either. The loss of Billy Stanlake is a huge one and increases the pressure on Ravi Rampaul to lead the bowling attack.
Reaching the final 4 is going to be a tough ask although the North group is much wider open than the South one.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 2nd in the North Group, Lost to Sussex in Quarter Final (9W, 4L, 1NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Cameron Bancroft, Darcy Short, Ben Stokes
The Durham Jets finished 2nd in the North table and were separated from the top team only by net run-rate. A lot of churn has taken place at Durham and they will have to build their Vitality T20 Blast 2019 team from the ground up.
Tom Latham, Paul Collingwood, and Imran Tahir are all not going to be available this season. Ben Stokes and Mark Wood have just won the World Cup a few days back and will be building towards the Ashes. We don’t think they are going to be playing too much of the Vitality Blast.
This means that Darcy Short, Cameron Bancroft, and Alex Lees have to take up the onus of scoring runs while Ben Raine, Nathan Rimmington, and James Weighall have to lead the bowling unit.
The Durham Jets are not as strong as they once were but they still have enough to challenge for a top-4 finish.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 3rd in North Group, Lost in Semi Final to Worcestershire (8W, 5L, 1NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Glenn Maxwell, Liam Livingstone, James Faulkner
Injuries have made Lancashire considerably weaker than they would be otherwise as they are likely to begin their campaign without Saqib Mahmood, Liam Livingstone, and Tom Bailey. James Anderson could have been expected to play the initial few games before the Ashes but he is also nursing a niggle and will not be available.
The Lancashire batting is very strong thanks to Maxwell, Jennings, Vilas, Alex Davies, and James Faulkner. They have power in the middle and bowling is quite well-balanced too. Matt Parkinson, Richard Gleeson, and Toby Lester are all excellent T20 bowlers.
Plenty of talent in Lancashire even after losing some key players to injury. They will be very disappointed if they don’t manage a top-4 finish.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 8th in North Group (5W, 8L, 1NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Colin Ackerman, Mark Cosgrove, Mohammad Abbas
A second from the last finish in 2018 may sound like a terrible season but it looks worse than it actually was. Leicestershire Foxes were just two wins away from a top-4 finish and the performances of some of their younger players really shone.
Leicestershire is going to be without Mohammad Nabi, Ben Raine, and Cameron Delport this season which are all significant losses. It puts the pressure on Colin Ackerman and Mark Cosgrove to be very consistent since there is a drop off in batting quality immediately after.
Mohammad Abbas is a wonderful red-ball cricketer but his white-ball performances have not been at the same level.
Leicestershire is going to have a hard time being competitive in the Vitality T20 Blast 2019.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 9th/Last in North Group (2W, 11L)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Dwaine Pretorius, Faheem Ashraf, Josh Cobb
The Steelbacks were regarded as a premier T20 side a few years ago but the loss of a large number of players has affected them badly. Ben Duckett can now joint the list of players leaving Northamptonshire and it makes the future appear a bit grim.
Faheem Ashraf and Dwaine Pretorius have joined the side to provide it some balance. The batting is also not all that bad with Richard Levi, Alex Wakely, and Josh Cobb in the batting order. The bowling is a big concern and that is where the addition of the two all-rounders is going to help.
We don’t think there are going to be too many expectations from the Steelbacks for Vitality T20 Blast 2019 and that could help them play freely. A few early upsets could make them a dangerous side to come across.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 4th in North Group, Lost in Quarter Final to Somerset (8W, 6L)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Dan Christian, Alex Hales, Harry Gurney
There is a lot of depth in the Nottinghamshire Outlaws squad. Players like Alex Hales, Dan Christian, and Harry Gurney make this one of the teams to watch out for in the upcoming season. Nottinghamshire won the title in 2017 and is definitely going to want to repeat the same.
The addition of Ben Duckett is going to add a lot of firepower to the Nottinghamshire side. A potential opening partnership between Duckett and Hales will have the bowlers running for cover. The presence of Samit Patel, Joe Clarke, and James Pattinson makes this one of the strongest squads in the competition.
We think there is a very good chance of seeing this team on finals day. Betway offered odds on them winning at 11.00 last we checked, an offer we took them up on at the start of the season.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 6th in North Group (6W, 7L)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Ashton Agar, Ian Bell, Jeetan Patel
Warwickshire or the Birmingham Bears are going to be hoping for a return to form after a patchy 2018 which saw them finish 6th in the North group. The Bears have qualified for the quarter-finals three out of the last five times and will be confident of doing the same this time around.
The Birmingham Bears do not have the big exciting names that some of the other teams in the North division so. They are also going to be without Grant Elliot and Colin de Grandhomme this season which means that players like Ian Bell, Sam Hain, and Olly Stone are going to have to step up.
Jeetan Patel and Ashton Agar are two very skilled but underrated T20 cricketers which could help tilt things the way of Warwickshire.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 1st in North Group, Champions
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Moeen Ali, Callum Ferguson, Wayne Parnell, Martin Guptill
The defending champions are going into the Vitality T20 Blast 2019 with a very strong side and one that could easily end up fighting for the title once again. Their batting is led by Martin Guptill, who was not in very good international form but is a serious threat at the county level.
With Moeen Ali, Rikki Wessels, Callum Ferguson and several all-rounders in the side, the batting is well sorted. The bowling also has plenty of variety and T20 skill thanks to Wayne Parnell, Pat Brown, Brett D’Oliveira, and Ben Cox in the side.
Almost every base is well covered and we think a quarter-final appearance would be the bare minimum the Worcestershire Rapids are hoping for in 2019.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 5th in North Group (7W, 7L)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Nicholas Pooran, David Willey, Adil Rashid
A decent season in 2018 saw Yorkshire win 7 matches and lose the same number as it just missed out on a quarter-final berth. This year, they have the exciting Nicholas Pooran to help give them firepower and maybe get them over the line.
He will have David Willey and Adil Rashid to help him in the cause. Both those players are unlikely to be called up for the Ashes squad and so Yorkshire should not have anything to worry about. The batting also has Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Gary Balance, and Jonny Tattersall to give it a lot of depth.
Duanne Olivier is now a kolpak player and will play for Yorkshire without disturbing the overseas quota. We don’t think Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are going to play the Vitality T20 blast 2019 but Tim Bresnan sure could play a big role.
We think Yorkshire can definitely make it to the quarter-final stage and beyond this year.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 7th in South Group (2W, 8L, 3NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Mohammad Amir, Adam Zampa, Peter Siddle, Simon Harmer
Essex Eagles will want to forget the 2018 season in a hurry or pretend it never happened. They won just two matches in the entire tournament and kept finding ways to lose from potential winning ones. The Essex Eagles have appointed Simon Harmer as the captain although Ryan Ten Doeschate remains an important member of the side as well.
Mohammad Amir is going to be available for 8 games and be a part of a very strong bowling attack. He is going to be supported by Simon Harmer, Jamie Porter, Ravi Bopara, and Adam Beard.
The batting still looks a bit weak to us. Cameron Delport, Varun Chopra, Ravi Bopara, and Ryan Ten Doeschate will have to play brilliantly for Essex to find a way past the group stages.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 6th in South Group (7W, 6L, 1NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Colin Ingram, Mitchell Marsh
Glamorgan all but seemed to have sealed a top-4 finish last season before losing form spectacularly. Now, they will be hoping to do one better this time and reach the T20 final for the first time in its history.
A lot will depend on the form of Colin Ingram. He is the batting mainstay of the team especially now that Shaun Marsh is unlikely to available for the majority of the Vitality T20 Blast 2019. Mitchell Marsh has underachieved in white-ball cricket at the international level but offers enough to make him one of the players to watch out for at the county level.
Billy Root, Michael Hogan, and Craig Meschede are all good players but they are not T20 superstars. Colin Ingram went berserk in 2018 to give Glamorgan a great chance at qualifying. Asking him to do the same in 2019 might be a bit too much.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 4th in South Group, Lost in Quarter Final to Worcestershire (8W, 4L, 2NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Michael Klinger, Andrew Tye, Benny Howell
No one seems to give Gloucestershire any chance yet they are always around at the pointy end of the tournament. They will once again look to Michael Klinger to be their leading batsman. Can he continue to provide the runs his side needs at 39?
Miles Hammond and Ian Cockbain had a good tournament in 2018 and we are certain that they will need to repeat that in 2019. Gloucestershire’s batting is a bit weak and dependent on Klinger for runs. If the others don’t step up then it could be a disaster.
The bowling is in much better shape with Andre Tye, Benny Howell, David Payne, and Ryan Higgins in the side. A trip to the quarter-final looks doubtful at this stage but never count out Gloucestershire.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 8th in South Group (2W, 9L, 2 NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: James Vince, Liam Dawson, Chris Morris
Hampshire was a much-fancied side in 2018 but it completely failed to live up to those expectations. They definitely have a few very good players and we think the only way possible for them is upward.
James Vince will lead the batting effort alongside Sam Northeast, Liam Dawson, Aneurin Donald, and Rilee Rossow.
The bowling is also not bad at all thanks to Kyle Abbot being a kolpak signing. Mason Crane can be a bit unpredictable and there is a lot of work that needs to be done by James Fuller but Hampshire appears to be a decently balanced team overall.
The top-order needs to find form early and we think Hampshire is going to surprise a few people this season. We got a small outsider bet on them to win at 12.00 odds over at LeoVegas.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 2nd in South Group, Lost to Lancashire in Quarter Final (8W, 2L, 4NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Joe Denly, Mohammad Nabi, Adam Milne
Kent had an excellent group stage where it lost just two matches but was knocked out in the quarter-final. It is going to be without Sam Billings this season and that is a loss that could be hard to recover from. We are certain that every Kent supporter would be keen to see if Joe Denly gets called up to the Ashes squad.
Denly was the highest run-scorer and wicket-taker for Kent in the T20 blast last season. He, alongside Mohammad Nabi and Adam Milne, is going to be very important for Kent. If Denly does not score runs, Kent is going to be in big trouble because the backup batting is just not very strong.
The loss of Sam Billings has put Kent in a tough place and we think they will struggle to replicate their success from 2018.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 9th/ Last in South Group (2W, 12L)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: AB de Villiers, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Eoin Morgan, Paul Stirling
No other team in the entire competition lost as many matches as Middlesex did last season. To say that 2018 was a forgettable year in the T20 blast for Middlesex would be an understatement. This season, though, Middlesex has some big names to call upon.
The biggest among them is AB de Villiers. With international cricket no longer in the way, de Villiers is free to spend all his time on the T20 circuit. It is scary to think what he can achieve against some of the attacks he is going to be faced with.
The Middlesex batting is very strong thanks to de Villiers, Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan, Paul Stirling, and Max Holden. The bowling is also looking encouraging with Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Steve Finn, and Nathan Sowter.
We expect to see Middlesex in the fight for a top-4 spot in 2019.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 1st in South Group, Lost in Semi Final to Sussex (10W, 4L)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Babar Azam, Jerome Taylor, Jamie Overton
Somerset won 10 out of its 14 group matches in 2018, more than any other team in the competition. They are a very competent white-ball side and will be coming into the Vitality Blast 2019 with the 50 over title to their name as well.
They have Babar Azam to bolster their batting, a very canny move in our opinion. Babar Azam is a freakishly consistent T20 player and had a very World Cup as well. With Tom Banton, James Hildreth, and Peter Trego, the batting top-order is stacked.
There is plenty of power in the lower order as well while the bowling looks solid thanks to Jamie Overton, Jerome Taylor, and Roelof van der Merwe in the side.
Another top-4 finish looks very likely.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 5th in South Group (7W, 5L)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Jason Roy, Ben Foakes, Tom Curran
Surrey has one of the strongest squads in this competition. It is stacked to the gills with quality international talent. Aaron Finch, Jason Roy, Tom Curran, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Imran Tahir, Ben Foakes, Mark Stoneman, and Rory Burns are some of the names that are available to play for Surrey.
If they are not picked for the Ashes that is.
Surrey’s potential squad is going to be ravaged by the Ashes team selection and that is something the side will have to grapple with. Players like Rikki Clarke, Liam Plunkett, Jade Dernbach, Morne Morkel, and Will Jacks are going to have to play a central role as most of the big names are going to be missing.
The English team selection will affect Surrey’s T20 Blast chances and in the most likely situation, leave it severely depleted.
Vitality Blast 2018 Finish: 3rd in South Group, Lost in Final to Worcestershire (7W, 3L, 4NR)
Players to watch out for Vitality Blast 2019: Rashid Khan, Alex Carey, Luke Wright, Chris Jordan
The Sussex Sharks are a very strong T20 unit and they are likely to be serious contenders this season. They were runners-up in 2018 after a brilliant year where the bowlers stood out under pressure. We don’t think Jofra Archer is going to be available for the Sussex Sharks this season since he is likely to be a part of the Ashes squad.
If he is available, though, then his partnership with Rashid Khan in the bowling department is a big bonus for Sussex.
Luke Wright, Phil Salt, Laurie Evans, Alex Carey, Stiaan van Zyl, and David Wiese make a very strong batting lineup. Rashid Khan is no mug with the bat either and Chris Jordan can bat as well. Add Tymal Mills and Danny Briggs to the mix and Sussex don’t have any apparent weak links.
This is one of the strongest squads in the entire competition and every other team will be wary of facing them in Vitality Blast 2019. So no wonder they are considered favorites at the bookmakers with the lowest odds offered.
Here is how we predict that the various groups, and the tournament as a whole, will end up:
North Group Top-4: Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Lancashire
South Group Top-4: Sussex, Somerset, Middlesex, Hampshire
Vitality Blast 2019 Winner: Sussex