The Twenty20 reaches its conclusion this weekend with the now traditional Finals Day. This year will be the last season of the current format, and will also see the first qualifiers decided for the Champions League after last year’s cancellation.
As well as the exciting prospect of the mascot race being commentated on by Phil Tufnell, the cricket should be of a high standard, with four good sides involved:
- Kent have the strongest track record of all the sides involved, having won the competition in 2007 and been losing finalists last year. With the likes of Wayne Parnell (back from South Africa for the finals), astute captain Rob Key and Azhar Mahmood in the side (along with many other players of quality) it’s not too hard to see why.
- Northamptonshire may not be eligible for Champions League qualification, but the possibility of their first limited overs silverware since 1992 should be enough of a motivator. Perhaps ironically (but perhaps not –ask Alanis Morissette), the ICL-‘tainted’ players that have disqualified Northants from the CLT20 are a large part of the reason they’ve made it this far. Johan van der Wath in particular has the potential to be a game-changer.
- Somerset, like Kent, are former winners, and the quality of their top order (Trescothick, Langer, Kieswetter…) is beyond question. The bowling is not quite as strong, but if the batsmen make a big enough score that won’t matter too much, and the experience of the older heads will be priceless in the field.
- Sussex may be missing Matt Prior for Finals Day, but they have quality bowlers in Yasir Arafat and James Kirtley, whilst Luke Wright can make an impact with bat or ball (or both). Defeat in the Friends Provident Trophy final may have sharpened their hunger for success, but Murray Goodwin will need to regain his form if they are to lift the trophy.