While other countries claim to have invented the concept of short form cricket, the first official T20 competition was held in England back in 2003. Now known as the NatWest T20 Blast as part of the sponsorship deal, it’s the only tournament where county grounds are full to capacity up and down the country.
While plans are afoot to introduce a more streamlined version of the game in the UK, the current T20 Blast features all 18 current counties with the preliminary games split into geographical sections before finals days features the best 4 teams each year.
NatWest T20 Blast Cricket Betting
When it comes to cricket betting, you will find a number of reputable sites offering odds on the NatWest T20 Blast league which we will highlight below. Currently, there are only odds posted for the outright winner of the tournament, but you can be sure there will be a lot more options to choose from including: To Win the Match, Top Team Bowler, Top Team Batsman, and far more. Even prop bets like To Win the Toss.
Best T20 Blast Betting Sites
T20 Blast Fixtures
Unlike the IPL and the Big Bash, the T20 Blast in England has never enjoyed a settled period in the English cricketing calendar. For much of its life, it has been run from the start of the season in May and has had to alternate with the domestic 50 over competition.
Calls for a dedicated window have been made for some time and in 2017, with England hosting the ICC Champions Trophy, the T20 Blast had to be held between July and September. Players and spectators seem to be happier with this arrangement and it may be that this continues in the seasons that lie ahead.
BBC.com has published a full list of 2017 NatWest fixtures.
In 2017, the first round of Nat West T20 Blast games will take place on July 7th and they will dominate the English cricketing calendar until Finals Day on September 2. All 18 English counties will be involved and initially they are split into two sections – North and South.
Each team plays its divisional opponents twice in that group phase and at the end of the regular season, the top four teams in each section go into the quarter finals. The four winners of those games will then head to Finals Day at Edgbaston. This features three games in one day with two semi finals played ahead of the final itself.
T20 Blast Teams Preview and Pre-Tournament Odds
In 2017, just as we’ve seen since the competition started in 2003, all 18 English counties are represented in the Nat West T20 Blast. Most apply a suffix to their names in order to separate their T20 sides and in some cases, these have changed over the years. Therefore, the Worcester Royals are now known as the Worcester Rapids while Surrey, who were called the Surrey Lions when they won the first tournament back in 2003, are now just plain Surrey.
Meanwhile, Warwickshire have dropped their county name altogether and are just referred to as the Birmingham Bears. Here then, are the teams on show in 2017 together with details of key players but remember these are subject to change prior to the first ball being bowled.
Winners of the T20 Blast in 2014, the Bears are a 12.00 shot with Bet365 and Betfair to repeat that success in 2017. They are skippered by former England batsman Ian Bell and for this season, their overseas roster includes the Kiwi all rounders Colin De Grandhomme and Grant Elliott.
Veterans Jonathan Trott, Rikki Clarke and Tim Ambrose are all enjoying productive spells away from the England set up and look out for leg spinner Josh Poysden who is one of a number of exciting young players at Edgbaston.
It’s been 24 years since Derbyshire won any form of domestic one day trophy and it’s therefore no surprise to see the Falcons out at 34.00 in the 2017 T20 Blast outright markets. It will be enough of a shock to see them get to Finals Day although the current squad is expected to feature Imran Tahir, one of the best bowlers in limited overs cricket.
The Falcons are led by Billy Godleman and will also include Matt Henry and Jeevan Mendis in their Nat West Blast squad for this campaign.
England’s newest county, Durham have enjoyed some success in the longer forms of the game but have yet to win the T20 competition. Priced at 17.00 with Bet365 to win it this year, they are led by a very familiar face – former England T20 Captain Paul Collingwood who is still churning out the runs at the age of 41.
Durham have two overseas batsmen in their squad for 2017 but are Tom Latham and Stephen Cook too pedestrian for the T20 game? England’s Ben Stokes, Mark Wood and official List A Captain Keaton Jennings may well be away with the national side for much of this tournament and with Mark Stoneman and Scott Borthwick having departed for Surrey, this is very much a side looking to rebuild.
They have yet to win the T20 Cup in England but the Eagles’ showing in this season’s 50 Over Tournament suggests they may offer good value at 15.00 with Bet365. Ryan Ten Doeschate’s men fell at the semi final stage but only after a record run chase by the Notts Outlaws.
Dutch international Ten Doeschate is joined by Ravi Bopara who seems to be back to his best after drifting out of the England set up while Mohammed Amir and Neil Wagner are listed as the overseas players. Kolpak signing Simon Harmer recently returned career best figures in the County Championship while young seamers Paul Walter, Aaron Beard and Jamie Porter all look to have big futures ahead of them.
In contrast to Essex, there isn’t too much interest in a Glamorgan side who are one of the rank outsiders at 23.00 with Bet365 and Betway to take the 2017 trophy. They’ve yet to win this competition and their last domestic limited overs trophy came with the Sunday League title back in 2004.
In 2017 they are skippered by Jacques Rudolph in his final year in professional cricket. The overseas roster is a talented one with Colin Ingram, Michael Hogan and Marchant De Lange expected to be involved but there doesn’t seem to be enough depth and quality among the domestic players.
They’ve enjoyed healthy success in the longer forms of the one day competitions but have yet to win the T20 Blast. Gloucester reached Finals Day in 2003 and again in 2007 when they made it to the final itself so some may consider them a decent outside punt at 17.00 in the outrights with Bet365 and Betway.
In 2017 they will be led by the impressive Michael Klinger who has an excellent T20 record and he will be backed by fellow Aussie Cameron Bancroft. The rest of the squad won’t be too familiar to cricket fans outside of the UK but players such as Benny Howell and Jack Taylor are extremely skilled in the short formats and Gloucester certainly shouldn’t be ruled out.
Previously known as the Hampshire Hawks, this county has enjoyed some success in this tournament, having won the competition twice in 2010 and then again in 2012. Skipper James Vince is out of the England set up right now so he should be available for the entire tournament and may well be joined by national squad newcomers Liam Dawson and Mason Crane.
And, they have the potentially devastating Shahid Afridi in their ranks. Boom Boom seems more of a threat with the ball these days and as we saw in the recent T20 international at the Ageas Bowl, the surface here should aid the spinners. A quarter final place is the least that this Hampshire side should be targeting in 2017. Hampshire are showing pre-season odds of 11.00 outright to win at Bet365 and 12.00 at Betway.
Another former winner of the domestic T20 trophy, Kent won this tournament in 2007 and were losing finalists a year later. The county brought in the exciting leg spinner Yasir Shah earlier this season and overall they have an experienced but relatively young side who have been together for some time now. To add to that promise, the Spitfires have just announced the signing of New Zealand all rounder Jimmy Neesham.
Adam Milne is also expected to feature while Kent will hope that Sam Billings is available to play a starring role after good showings at the IPL with Delhi and with the Sydney Sixers at last season’s Big Bash Down Under. Kent is showing up at 17.00 odds at Bet365 prior to the start of the season.
The Lightning took the T20 Blast title just two years ago and traditionally they perform well in all forms of one day cricket. Steven Croft is the club captain for this 2017 campaign but the side will have to move to replace Mahela Jayawardene who has pulled out of his T20 deal due to personal reasons.
Junaid Khan from Pakistan will be involved however and Lancashire fans will hope that Jos Buttler will be available to play as much white ball cricket as possible in this T20 Blast season. Lancashire Lightning are priced at 15.00 with Bet365 and 13.00 at Betway to win the competition this summer.
They may be one of the more unfashionable counties in English cricket but Leicester have won the domestic T20 competition in England on no fewer than three separate occasions. These were the glory days when former England wicket keeper Paul Nixon led the side to the last of these trophies in 2011.
Six years later, the Foxes are quoted at a distant 26.00 with Betway to make it four triumphs in the shortest format. Clint McKay is the List A and T20 captain this season and he takes the field alongside a fellow Aussie, the hard hitting Mark Cosgrove.
Kevin O’Brien and Luke Ronchi are the overseas imports who have been specifically drafted in for the Blast and overall this looks a dangerous squad who can’t be ruled out.
Middlesex took the title back in 2008 when they had the likes of Tyrone Henderson in their ranks but the side has rarely threatened to repeat that success. Bookies have them at a relatively short 12.00 with Bet365 but the priority these days seems to be the County Championship where they are the reigning champions.
Brendon McCullum returns to Lord’s as the official T20 Captain although regular club skipper James Franklin is also expected to feature in the Blast this season. Dawid Malan recently showed his short form credentials with the highest score by an Englishman on international T20 debut while Tim Southee, James Fuller and Steven Finn can form a potent pace attack if they are all made available.
Like the Leicester Foxes, the Steelbacks prove that you don’t have to be one of England’s fashionable counties to make a mark on the T20 competition. While they languish in division two in the first class game, Northants have won this title on two previous occasions and are the reigning champions coming into 2017.
Many of the squad names will not be familiar to those outside of the UK but they retain most of the side that won it 12 months ago including skipper Alex Wakely, England’s Ben Duckett plus Kolpak signing Richard Levi and overseas Seekkuge Prasanna.
For this season’s version of the Blast, Northampton are a 13.00 shot with Bet365 and Betway.
Now we come to the first of three teams with the shortest odds for the 2017 title. The Outlaws are at 10.00 in the outrights with Bet365 and Betway but despite making it to finals day in the past, they have yet to win England’s domestic T20 competition.
It’s a talented squad which should be boosted by Alex Hales who is unlikely to be retained in England’s test team while Dan Christian skippers the side in the short format. New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi is the other overseas player for the Blast while Samit Patel, Michael Lumb and Rikki Wessels can all produce some power hitting when required.
They’ve had Chris Gayle and Mahela Jayawardene in their ranks in the past and Somerset are also previous winners of this competition, That triumph came way back in 2005 however and with a relative lack of big names in this current squad, they are out at 13.00 for the trophy with Bet365 and Betway.
Jim Allenby leads the side in the short forms and the team includes Roelof Van De Merwe who masterminded an incredible comeback against Surrey in the 50 over tournament earlier this year. Corey Anderson is the overseas while the Overton twins Jamie and Craig don’t always play together but they can form a strong pace spearhead.
If you’re looking at a tip from us ahead of the actual 2017 tournament, then take Surrey at 10.00 with Betway and 9.00 at Bet365. They may not have won this competition since its very first year, back in 2003 but they have a seriously strong one day side.
Unlike other counties, they won’t lose too many players to England duty either so Jason Roy, Sam and Tom Curran and keeper Ben Foakes should be here for most of the tournament. And, Surrey have signed former player Kevin Pietersen who can be a real match winner if he stays fit and in form.
Watch for the 50 over final between Surrey and Notts on July 1. While this is a longer format of the one day game it could well give us an indicator for the T20 Blast.
2009 winners the Sharks are available at 17.00 with Bet365 and Betway to win the competition this year. Ross Taylor will skipper the T20 side and Sussex will also hope to field the fearsome Tymal Mills who only features in the shortest form of the game.
With Luke Wright and Chris Jordan also in the squad, they always have a chance and could yet upset the odds to make it to finals day.
Traditionally, Worcester have a reasonable record in English one day cricket but they haven’t won a trophy since claiming the Pro 40 league in 2007 and they have yet to win the T20 cup. For 2017, they are right out at 26.00 in the outright markets with Bet365 but they may have a chance and worth taking a flier on.
Worcester reached the semi finals of the 50 over Royal London tournament this year with a competent team of one day specialists led by skipper Joe Leach. Mitchell Santner is the overseas player for the tournament this year and while the majority of this squad will be very unfamiliar, that performance in the 50 over competition suggests they might have a very slim chance of a Finals Day appearance.
Yorkshire complete the list of 18 counties and they are the final team on offer at that shortest price of 10.00 at Bet365 and Betway.
They haven’t won this competition yet and in recent years have suffered with the loss of key players to England duty. Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are almost certain to be missing for most of the campaign while Adil Rashid and Gary Ballance may possibly join them in the test squad to play South Africa.
They had to move quickly to replace overseas signing Travis Head with his Aussie compatriot Shaun Marsh and with Tim Bresnan, Alex Lees, Andrew Hodd and David Willey likely to feature, this underachieving squad should be targeting Finals Day at the very least.
NatWest T20 Blast Facts
- Surrey were the first winners of the English T20 Cup in 2003.
- As a rather bizarre footnote to the 2003 competition, the bowling averages were headed by India’s very own Virender Sehwag who claimed seven wickets for Leicestershire at just 10.00 per victim.
- The most successful team in the competition to date is the Leicestershire Foxes who claimed three titles up to 2016.
- The highest aggregate total between two English domestic sides is 455 from the match between Surrey and Glamorgan on 15/05/2015.
- The highest team total was posted by Gloucestershire who scored 254/3 against Middlesex in 2011.
- The lowest aggregate is also a world record. In July 2012 Northants and Gloucester scored just 54 between them.
- The lowest completed team total was also produced by Northants who made 47 against Durham in July 2011.
- The highest winning margin in terms of runs is 143 as Somerset beat Essex in June 2011.
- The highest individual score is 158 not out by Brendon McCullum for Warwickshire against Derbyshire in 2015.
- The highest score on debut is 97 by Brad Hodge for Leicestershire against Yorkshire in 2003.
- The best bowling figures in domestic English T20 are also a world record: 6/5 by Arul Suppiah for Somerset against Glamorgan in 2011.
- The worst bowling figures are 0-67 from 4 overs by James Kirtley for Sussex against Essex in 2008
- Matt Machan holds the record for most catches in an innings: 5 for Sussex against Glamorgan in 2016
- Tony Frost holds a joint world record with 4 stumpings for Warwickshire against Glamorgan in 2004
- Andrew Symonds scored the fastest hundred in English T20 cricket from 34 balls for Kent against Middlesex in 2004.
T20 Blast History
With the county game struggling to survive at the start of the new century, English counties looked to devise a way in which they could get more spectators through the gates and attract more revenue. Those counties subsequently voted by a narrow margin to create an initial tournament in 2003 and while it was very much an experiment, the public loved it.
That 2003 tournament was won by the Surrey Lions who beat the Warwickshire Bears by a comfortable nine wicket margin in the final.
Overall, it was a great success with new cricket fans flocking in to see a game that could be concluded in under three hours. Little has changed in the years that have followed and while we may see an additional English competition introduced in the near future, the T20 Blast – as it’s now called – goes from strength to strength.
From 2003 to 2009, the domestic competition in England was known simply as the T20 Cup with no main sponsor attaching their name to the tournament. In 2010, it was called the Friends Provident T20 Cup with a new backer getting on board and it remained this way until NatWest Bank took over in 2014.
They remain sponsors of the competition to the present day with the tournament now re-branded as the NatWest T20 Blast.