There is almost a full programme of Twenty20 Blast action from England’s county scene on Friday night and it would be remiss not to decipher the value from some attractive matches.
Once again we’re looking for ricks and inevitably that leads us to pick some of the outsiders. We start with the biggest price of the night in Cardiff where an underrated Glamorgan team take on well-fancied Surrey.
Glamorgan are +129 with Paddy Power to down the Londoners, who are not better than -143 (BetVictor). It is true that there is a gulf between the teams in terms of their club size. It is something of a major versus a minor with Surrey enjoying vast support, infrastructure and money. Glamorgan is a backwater by comparison.
But the Welsh county look well equipped for an upset thanks to some clever strategy in their player recruitment. Thanks to the signatures of Jacques Rudolph and Marchant de Lange under Kolpak arrangements – where an overseas player doesn’t actually count as an overseas player – Glamorgan are able to field double the number of internationals.
The pair join Colin Ingram and David Miller, another South African, in the ranks. This gives them a much more dangerous look than people give them credit for even when they lead the South group section by, you guessed it, Surrey.
Last time out they downed Gloucestershire in Bristol. No mean feat against one of the most miserly and wily teams in the competition. The margin of victory was 25 runs, suggesting they barely broke sweat.
No doubt there will be some hairy moments against Surrey. We have had our head turned by them this season because of the sheer number of international players in their ranks. For example, they could field Jason Roy, Aaron Finch, Kevin Pietersen and Kumar Sangakkara in the top four.
But with so many big egos, Surrey won’t ‘like it up ‘em’ as they say in Wales and no quarter will be given by a ferocious home team.
Elsewhere we have to mark your card for Birmingham to beat Yorkshire at big odds. The Bears have been chalked up at +115 by William Hill with the Yorkies given too much respect at short odds on.
The two teams have identical records this season with four wins each and three losses. What swings it is Birmingham’s strong record on their own ground. And there was also the not insignificant matter of Yorkshire struggling against chumps Durham last time out.
They were appalling and had gone off -333 jollies. Instead they played as if they were the rags and were extremely fortunate to scrape a win after a horrible batting effort. They might not be so lucky in Birmingham.