NatWest T20 Blast 2016 Playoffs and final Predictions
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Although the NatWest T20 Blast has come under severe criticism from former cricketers about how dry the tournament has been. However, with as many stars on show from England coupled with some wonderful entertainment, it is clear that the organizers of the tournament are attempting something that has seldom been done in the cricketing arena thus far. The final three matches, the playoff semi-final and the final with being played at Edgbaston, all on the same day. The final will be played soon after the conclusion of the playoff matches, thus ensuring that the crowds will be provided with cricketing entertainment for almost 4-5 hours.
Semifinal 1: Nottinghamshire v Northamptonshire
Both these sides have certainly done well to make it to this stage in the tournament. However, as mentioned earlier, the boost provided by a few returning England players will be the key. As far as Nottinghamshire is concerned, they will be boosted by the return of Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, and Alex Hales. However, Northamptonshire will be retaining the same squad. Although it is perfect for the continuity of the side, the influx of individual talent and brilliance is something that many would be looking forward to.
Prediction: Although the Notts will be supremely revitalized by the return of a few key players, Northamptonshire will have the invaluable addition of continuity. The Notts may well edge this encounter with a win.
Nottinghamshire: Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Daniel Christian, Luke Fletcher, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, B Hutton, Imran Tahir, Michael Lumb, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Chris Read, Andre Russell, Greg Smith, Brendan Taylor, Riki Wessels, Sam Wood
Northamptonshire: M Ashraf, Azharullah, J Cobb, S Crook, B Duckett, R Gleeson, R Keogh, R Kleinveldt, R Levi, R Newton, S Prasanna, A Rossington, B Sanderson, O Stone, A Wakely, G White
Match starts at 15:30 IST (August 20)
Semifinal 2: Yorkshire v Durham
The second semifinal will witness Yorkshire take on Durham. The pitch conditions for this match will be interesting to see as a match would have already taken place a few minutes previously. This aspect is certain to affect the toss and the decisions made by the two sides as well. While Durham has experience in the form of Scot Borthwick and Paul Collingwood, Yorkshire is boosted by the return of their England stars. Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, and Tim Bresnan will be the key to Yorkshire’s chances of making it to the final.
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Prediction: Although Durham boasts of good experience in T20 cricket, it is clear that they lack the stars that will be making a difference.
Durham: U Arshad, S Borthwick, J Burnham, G Clark, P Collingwood, P Coughlin, K Jennings, C MacLeod, B McCarthy, GJ Muchall, P Mustard, R Pringle, M Richardson, C Rushworth, B Stokes, M Stoneman, M Wood
Yorkshire: Azeem Rafiq, J Bairstow, G Ballance, T Bresnan, K Carver, B Coad, A Hodd, J Leaning, A Lees, A Lyth, S Patterson, L Plunkett, A Rashid, W Rhodes, J Root, J Shaw, J Wainman, D Willey, K Williamson
Match starts at 19:30 IST (August 20)
The final will be an exciting contest with the wicket expected to be the same in spite of three matches being played on the same pitch all at once.
Match starts at 23:15 IST (August 20)