NatWest T20 Blast: Matt Floyd previews this week's quarter-finals
Derbyshire v Hampshire; Glamorgan v Leicestershire; Nottinghamshire v Somerset; Surrey v Birmingham
By Matt Floyd
Last Updated: 23/08/17 6:07am
Sky Sports' Matt Floyd previews the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals and where the matches could be won and lost.
It was one of the most wide-open and frantic ends to a NatWest T20 Blast group stage in recent memory and at the end of it all we have some intriguing quarter-finals.
If the Northern teams all win (as they did last year), it will be the first all Midlands Finals Day!
Derbyshire Falcons v Hampshire (6pm, Tuesday, Sky Sports Cricket)
Derbyshire (second quarter-final; never reached Finals Day)
Amazingly, this is only the second time Derbyshire have reached a T20 quarter-final. Bringing in a specialist coach in John Wright seems to have worked and there have been consistent performances throughout the squad. Wayne Madsen has been the standout, becoming the first player since Andrew MacDonald (Leicestershire) in 2011 to score 500 runs and take 10 wickets.
Hampshire (Ninth quarter-final; six Finals Days; Champions 2010 & 2012)
After missing out on the knockout stage last year for the first time since 2009, James Vince's side look more like their usual selves this season. The thrashing by Somerset in their final game will be a worry, as will the absence of Rilee Rossouw through injury, but Hampshire still have plenty of quality to call upon. If the game gets tight, their experienced heads could give them an advantage.
There will be some high-class leg-spin on show with Imran Tahir lining up opposite Shahid Afridi and Mason Crane. How the respective batsmen handle these match winners could go a long way to deciding this game.
Glamorgan v Leicestershire Foxes (6pm, Wednesday, Sky Sports Cricket)
Glamorgan (fifth quarter-final; one Finals Day)
Glamorgan may not be the most fashionable county around but they have now reached the quarter-finals in three of the last four years. Colin Ingram has turned himself into one of the most fearsome hitters in county cricket and Michael Hogan and Marchant De Lange spearhead a potent seam attack. If they win, it will be a first trip to Finals Day since 2004.
Leicestershire (Sixth quarter-final; five Finals Days; Champions 2004, 2006 & 2011)
It's a first quarter-final for the three-time champions since 2011, when they lifted the trophy. Their bowlers have played a key part in getting them there with the unheralded Callum Parkinson and Mat Pillans supporting leading wicket-taker Clint McKay. The Foxes have never lost a quarter-final.
Both sides have destructive batsmen who can take the game away from the opposition in the blink of an eye. If Leicestershire don't get Ingram out early, it could be game over. The same applies for Glamorgan and Luke Ronchi.
Nottinghamshire Outlaws v Somerset (6pm, Thursday, Sky Sports Cricket)
Notts (ninth quarter-final; three Finals Days)
Notts were the only side in the North spared a nail-biting end to the group stage after a fast start saw them qualify before anyone else. Trent Bridge has become one of the best places in the world to bat in white-ball cricket so it's not too surprising that they have been the best batting side in the competition (team run rate 9.82!) but also had the worst team economy rate. They've never lifted the trophy… is this going to be the year?
Somerset (seventh quarter-final; five Finals Days; Champions 2005)
Somerset snuck into the top four with an impressive dismantling of Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl. They will be underdogs in Nottingham but will be encouraged by the hosts' record in home quarter-finals - they've only won one of their last five. No batsman has scored over 300 runs but the team have still scored at a good rate - a few have chipped in.
Notts have an extremely intimidating top seven which has savaged a number of attacks this year. If Somerset aren't able to keep them in check, it could be a long night for them.
Surrey v Birmingham Bears (6.45pm, Friday, Sky Sports Cricket)
Surrey (seventh quarter-final; six Finals Days; Champions 2003)
For a side with as strong a squad as Surrey they have perhaps been a bit inconsistent so far. The death bowling has been reliable thanks mainly to Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach and that could be deciding factor on Friday. They haven't taken the title since the inaugural Twenty20 Cup in 2003.
Birmingham Bears (10th quarter-final; three Finals Days; Champions 2014)
No side has featured in as many quarter-finals as the men from Warwickshire, who play their 10th. Ian Bell has stepped down from the captaincy and it will be interesting to see if he will be able to reclaim his place in the side for this crucial game. The Kiwi trio of Jeetan Patel, Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme have had a big impact this year. If The Oval pitch is a used one, it could play into Patel's hands.
Surrey have won a few games with their death bowling this season. If it goes down to the wire the Bears batsmen will have to be at their best to come out on top.