The first-ever Bob Willis Trophy Final takes place over five days from September 23-27 with Somerset taking on Essex at Lord's. BettingPro.com offers our best tips for the action.
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Bob Willis Trophy Final Predictions & Tips: Somerset v Essex (September 23-27)
Somerset and Essex will walk out at Lord’s this week for the first-ever five-day Bob Willis Trophy Final with the winners picking up the first silverware of a very strange season.
Somerset booked their place in the Final after finishing top of the Central Group with four wins from five matches, and just one of them ending in a draw. Their victories came against Glamorgan, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire with their draw being against Warwickshire.
To complete four matches during the England summer is some going, they have had the likes of Tom Abell and Tom Lammonby leading the way with the bat. Abell managed to hit 359 runs in nine innings, while Lammonby is just nine runs behind him from the same amount of times at the crease.
Somerset are no slouches with the ball in hand either, Craig Overton has taken 28 wickets from 902 deliveries and Josh Davey has been in the wickets himself with 24 from 710 balls. Somerset have match winnings all through their squad.
Just because Somerset have match winners in their squad, that doesn’t mean this Final is a foregone conclusion. Essex are no mugs and they thrive as a club on the big occasions. They won the County Championship in 2019 – their eighth overall – so that shows they are comfortable in this format of the game.
They reached the Final after topping the South Group with an identical record of four wins and one draw. Their only blip was the draw against Hampshire, but they recorded wins over Kent, Middlesex, Sussex and Surrey.
Any team that has Sir Alastair Cook opening their batting are off to a good start in my opinion. Since retiring from the international set-up, Cook looks to be enjoying his cricket again. He has managed to score 360 runs from nine innings this season, his highest score being 129 from 215 in their draw against Hampshire.
Essex have the likes of Varun Chopra and Ryan ten Doeschatre in their batting line-up, but it is safe to say that if Cook doesn’t score runs then they will most likely post a modest total, and that could let Somerset in.
Saying that, if they do post a modest total in both innings, they still have Simon Harmer in their bowling attack to do the damage. The 31-year-old leads the way with the most wickets this season, he has taken 34 wickets from 205.1 overs with three 5-fers under his belt.
The extended day for the Final – it has been a four-day match during the Group Stages – should see us get a result quite comfortably. This one is very difficult to call, but I’m going for Essex to win the Bob Willis Trophy in 2020. To me, they seem to have a strong squad with a number of potential match-winners – as do Somerset – but there is something about this Essex side when it comes to this format of the game.
I’m backing Essex to win the game and for them to have a first innings lead. Also, I’m backing Cook to once again show us why he was knighted and provide us with a batting masterclass in the first innings, while Harmer will continue to terrorise batsman with the most wickets when he gets a chance to bowl.