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T20 Blast - Cricket: Quarterfinals preview

The T20 Blast has reached the knockout stages, with eight teams just one win away from booking a place at Finals Day, which will be staged at Edgbaston.

Kent Spitfires are the reigning champions, but they failed to make it through to the quarter-final stage as they finished rock-bottom of the South Group, winning just three of their 14 games.

Surrey out to end long wait

What

Surrey v Yorkshire Vikings, T20 Blast quarter-final

Where

The Oval, London

When

18:30 Wednesday 6th July

How to watch

Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Cricket

OddsSurrey 8/11, Yorkshire 11/10

Surrey have surprisingly not been crowned T20 champions since the inaugural tournament back in 2003, but so far this season they appear to be on course to end that title drought.

Even the loss of Kieron Pollard to injury doesn't seem to have hampered their efforts too much, with Will Jacks leading the way with the bat with 448 runs at a strike-rate of 143.58.

However, it is on the bowling front that Surrey have excelled, with veteran off-spinner Sunil Narine outstanding in taking 13 wickets at an economy rate of a touch under six an over.

Seamers Reece Topley (15) and Chris Jordan (17) have both taken more wickets than Narine, while all-rounder Sam Curran has been in tip-top form with both bat and ball in recent times.

However, with Jason Roy, Topley, Jordan and Curran all on international duty, Surrey certainly have gaps to try and fill.

The Vikings, meanwhile, only just sneaked through to the knockout stages and head to The Oval as very much the outsiders to progress.

Their batting has been impressive, with Adam Lyth (518 runs) and Harry Brook (434) leading the way, while there is the possibility that Jonny Bairstow could be allowed to feature after his recent England heroics - which would provide a huge boost, even if Brook is away with the Three Lions.

However, their bowling has been below-par much of the time, with the loss of Pakistan paceman Haris Rauf to injury proving a massive setback, one which may well tip this match in favour of the hosts.

Bears hope to use home advantage

What

Birmingham Bears v Hampshire Hawks, T20 Blast quarter-final

Where

Edgbaston, Birmingham

When

18:30 Thursday 7th July

OddsBirmingham Bears 8/11, Hampshire 11/10

The Bears have big-hitting batting order to envy at their disposal, with four players having struck more than 300 runs at a strike-rate in excess of 160.

Irish opener Paul Stirling is hitting at 177, while former Somerset right-hander Adam Hose must be on the England radar thanks to 541 runs at 165 strike-rate and an average a touch over 60.

Add in the potential of Carlos Brathwaite to come in and go big and the emergence of youngster Dan Mousley and the Bears have a line-up to fear, while their bowling options are equally as impressive.

Jake Lintott has taken the third-most wickets in the tournament this season with 22, while fellow left-arm spinner Danny Briggs has 18 to his name and Craig Miles has spearheaded the seam attack.

The Hawks' hopes of leaving Edgbaston having booked a return ticket will largely depend on former England batter James Vince, who has made a tournament-leading 622 runs at a strike-rate of 146.35, including two centuries.

With the ball Hants have been more impressive as a unit, led by Scotland fast bowler Brad Wheal, who has taken 19 wickets in just ten matches, while the left-arm spin of England's Liam Dawson remains a major asset in the shortest form of the game.

However, the visitors will need another major contribution from Vince if they are to deny their hosts a place at Finals Day on home turf, with the Bears fancied to progress.

Tight tussle in prospect at OT

What

Lancashire Lightning v Essex Eagles, T20 Blast quarter-final

Where

Old Trafford, Manchester

When

18:30 Friday 8th July

How to watch

Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Cricket

OddsLancashire 4/5, Essex 1/1

The Lightning, on paper at least, seem to have an almost unstoppable batting line-up at their disposal, however, international commitments have robbed them of the services of Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone and Phil Salt at times and have hampered their efforts.

Singapore star Tim David has delivered with 383 runs at a 179.81 strike-rate, while Steven Croft and Dane Vilas have been as consistent as always.

With the ball, veteran Richard Gleeson has impressed so much in taking 23 wickets that he has earned an England call-up, which is bad news for Lancs as he joins Buttler, Salt, Livingstone and Matt Parkinson in being absent for the visit of the Eagles.

Essex eased through to the last eight inspired again by South African off-spinner Simon Harmer, whose impact has been similar to that of Narine for Surrey.

Leg-spinner Matt Critchley has offered more than decent support to Harmer, while with the bat, everyone seems to have chipped in when needed, although a special mention has to go to Michael Pepper.

His 403 runs have come at a very handy 167.21 strike-rate and given the raft of absentees for the home side, the Eagles may be able to wing it through to Finals Day.

Falcons pairing key to downing Cidermen

What

Somerset v Derbyshire Falcons, T20 Blast quarter-final

Where

County Ground, Taunton

When

19:00 Saturday 9th July

How to watch

Sky Sports Cricket

OddsSomerset 4/7, Derbyshire 11/8

The Falcons have been the surprise package of the tournament to date and hosts Somerset will be well-advised not to take their visitors lightly.

Pakistan opener Shan Masood has been the signing of the summer in the county game and the left-hander has adapted quickly to the challenges of T20 cricket, making 547 runs at an almost 140 strike-rate.

Both he and Wayne Madsen have played in all 14 games in the competition, with the latter having struck at 170 in totalling 485 runs - this duo will be critical to the outcome of this match.

With the ball, George Scrimshaw, Mark Watt and Mattie McKiernan have all performed way above pre-season expectations, meaning the Falcons are a serious dark horse to maybe go all the way.

However, Somerset will be eager to dash those hopes and with runs expected to flow in Taunton, they will be looking to the likes of Will Smeed and Tom Banton to deliver with the bat.

The gamechanger and potentially the player who can decide this game is South African left-hander Rilee Rossouw, who has not only made more than 500 runs in the competition, but made them at a strike-rate of nearly 190.

If he gets going again on Saturday evening, the Falcons may just get their wings clipped, but this is another match-up which is tough to call.

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