The second piece of silverware of the county cricket season will be won on Saturday when surprise package Leicestershire take on the pre-event favourites Hampshire in the final of the Metro Bank One Day Cup at Trent Bridge.
These two have been the best two teams in the competition and largely cruised through their semi-finals and will be expected to come together to deliver a very good final of what has been a much better competition than it has been given credit for.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Cricket channel with the build-up beginning at 10.30am ahead of the 11am start time.
Hampshire have been one of the teams of the tournament and when you consider the volume of players that they have had to do without in this campaign it says everything about them as a club. They have mixed a few experienced heads with a number of youngsters that have been blooded throughout the competition. They now have that decision which is becoming more prevalent in the final of this tournament of whether to stick with the players who got them to this match or bring their best ones back.
The big thing for Hampshire in this tournament is how they have batted. When you consider the likes of James Vince, Joe Weatherley, Ross Whiteley and Liam Dawson have all missed the majority of the competition that is no mean effort. Where Hampshire have done well is they have bowled very well. They have had a young bowling attack out at various times in this competition but they have often maintained the pressure on the opposition. They look well set however they approach this final.
This is going to be a big occasion for Leicestershire. A decade or so ago opportunities like this were coming regularly via the T20 competition but they have dipped in that tournament over the last few years and so this is a huge day for the Foxes. That will bring its own pressure on the team but this is a team who aren’t used to winning trophies or playing in big matches so they are going to need to settle very quickly and get into this final else it is a match which has the potential to get away from them.
Leicestershire are another team who have batted brilliantly throughout this competition and they will hope that the loss of Peter Handscomb, who has gone back for the Australian domestic season, will not come back to haunt them. If Leicestershire are going to win this final then they are going to need to be good with the ball. This is a huge pressure game so expecting their batting to be as good as it has been might not be the safest option.
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Liam Dawson only played the semi-final of the competition due to his involvement in The Hundred but he took career best figures with the ball and after the heatwave that has toured the country since then his spin bowling will be key, as will the depth he gives the batting.
Wiaan Mulder is the sole overseas player for Leicestershire in this final and he is someone who has played in big matches. He’ll open the bowling and bowl at the death and bat in the middle order and a Leicestershire win is hard to envisage if he doesn’t have a big game.
I think Hampshire are worthy favourites in this final. They have loads more big match experience within their overall squad if not necessarily the XI they will field here, although even then the likes of Liam Dawson, James Fuller, Mason Crane and Tom Prest all featured in the Vitality Blast finals day either last season or this one. They are a little on the tight side price wise though so rather than take Hampshire I’ll back the boundaries in this one.
Instead I’ll go with over 54.5 boundaries. I do think we’ll get a high scoring final. Trent Bridge is a setting where we should get a high scoring final and the previous two finals on this ground have set such a trend. The 2021 final had 62 boundaries in it and last year we were treated to 63 boundaries. These two met in the group stage at the Ageas Bowl where there were 59 on a much bigger ground than what Trent Bridge is. Interestingly Peter Handscomb was out cheaply that day so his absence may not impact things as much. The inclusion of the likes of Liam Dawson and James Fuller to add depth to the Hampshire batting will help and at Trent Bridge a 54.5 boundaries line is quite low. I’ll play the over.
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