Complete Betting Guide to England’s domestic T20 competition.
<div><h2>How it works</h2><p>This is a free-for-all. Unlike ‘traditional’ franchise T20 tournaments, the English do things differently (until next summer when they introduce The Hundred, but let’s not get side-tracked) by throwing 18 county teams together and letting them scrap it out for glory. It’s chaos but it’s possibly the best value cricket tournament in the world.</p><p>The 18 county teams – who, by and large, have ludicrous mon-ikers reassuringly tacked on) are split into two groups on a geographical basis – North and South. The group stages are played 18 July-30 August. Here is the breakdown in 2018 fin-ishing order.</p><p><strong>North Group</strong></p><ul> <li>Worcestershire Rapids</li> <li>Durham Jets</li> <li>Lancashire Lightning</li> <li>Nottinghamshire Outlaws</li> <li>Yorkshire Vikings</li> <li>Birmingham Bears</li> <li>Derbyshire Falcons</li> <li>Leicestershire Foxes</li> <li>Northants Steelbacks</li></ul><p><strong>South Group</strong></p><ul> <li>Somerset</li> <li>Kent Spitfires</li> <li>Sussex Sharks</li> <li>Gloucestershire Gladiators</li> <li>Surrey Lions</li> <li>Glamorgan Dragons</li> <li>Essex Eagles</li> <li>Hampshire</li></ul><p>The top four from each section qualify for the quarter-finals. The semi-final and final are played on the same day at the same venue at Edgbaston on 21 September. Genius.</p><h2>The contenders</h2><p>The Worcestershire Rapids are the holders after they beat Sussex Sharks. They fit into the ‘unfashionable’ category be-cause they have few stars players and a small-ish fan base. Naturally, as punters, we love them dearly because the book-ies underrated them again and again. This year they go off at a whopping 17.0 (16/1) <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=3e56a0bf-7bdf-4fe1-b9a6-d22c7cc3dd2c&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Get in the game with Betway">with Betway</a>. Harsh, no? The Rapids have not stood still and have made eye-catching signings in Riki Wessels and Wayne Parnell.</p><p>The favourites are Nottinghamshire at 8.0 (7/1) with <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Well rated bookmaker">William Hill</a> and <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=b4150791-892f-469b-9b6a-7dfc6df0fb07&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Place your bets with Ladbrokes">Ladbrokes</a>. Notts are big on batting power but low on bowling smarts. Twas ever thus for T20 favourites wherever in the world you are.</p><p>Sussex are next best at 9.0 (8/1). This makes sense because they have captured Rashid Khan, the Afghan T20 genius, for the majority of the competition but he could miss the death. Not before confounding English ingenue batsmen.</p><h2>The stars are out</h2><p>Some of the world’s biggest stars are involved. Pakistan’s Mo-hammad Amir for Essex, countrymen Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman for Somerset and Glamorgan respectively, Glenn Max-well, the hard-hitting Aussie, is at Lancashire. Middlesex have made the shrewd signing of Mujeeb ur Rahman, the Afghan spinner, although Surrey come out trumps with South African</p><p>Imran Tahir. Tahir’s team-mate Chris Morris will perform all-round duties for Hampshire. Ab De Villiers is starring at Mid-dlesex where he will be joined by World Cup-winning skip Eoin Morgan.</p><h2>Facts and stats</h2><ul> <li>Surrey, never out of the front four in the betting, have won once in this tournament in 16 attempts</li> <li>Nottinghamshire won the 2017 edition but had only made the final once previously</li> <li>Bookies’ rags Leicestershire Foxes have most titles (three)</li> <li>Somerset have the most defeats in finals (three)</li> <li>No team has ever won back-to-back titles</li> <li>Only twice (Surrey 2004, Kent 2008) have winners made it to next year’s final</li> <li>Eight of the last ten finals (not including one tie) have been won by the side batting first</li> <li>Last year’s top runscorer was Sussex’s Laurie Evans. The top wicket-taker was Worcestershire’s Pat Brown</li></ul></div>