Group-by-group guide to the Twenty20 Cup

South Group



Historically Surrey have been the outstanding side of the group, winning the inaugural tournament in 2003 and qualifying for the finals day on four occasions. They will face strong opposition primarily from Kent, the reigning champions, and Sussex, the strongest county in the country.



Twenty20 is all about scoring runs and Sussex, in the shape of Luke Wright and Murray Goodwin, had the two leading run scorers in last seasons tournament. The pair struck two of the five Twenty20 hundreds hit in 2007. The bowling is excellent too with Mushtaq Ahmed and James Kirtey showing that experience is vital.



Kent will be strengthened by the presence of Justin Kemp, whose power hitting will supplement the more orthodox batting of Robert Key and Joseph Denly, who both had excellent tournaments last year. Simon Cook has enjoyed Twenty20 and Azhar Mahmood is highly effective at the end of an innings when yorkers are required.



Surrey have signed the former Pakistan all-rounder, Abdul Razzaq, to bolster their side and the evergreen Mark Ramprakash will be hoping to have another strong showing. The tournament will be a welcome distraction for Ramprakash, who currently sits on 99 first-class hundreds. James Benning has another chance to push his credentials too.



The retirement of Shane Warne, although he asked to miss Twenty20 cricket before the big money arrived, leaves Hampshire short of inspiration whilst England's one-day series deprives Essex of Ravi Bopara, the teams gun player. Middlesex have a lot to prove but the 'Turn Lord's Pink' match against Surrey, where pink shirts will be sold to raise awareness and funds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, should make an excellent spectacle.



To qualify - Sussex, Kent.



North Group



This group is the most successful and therefore the strongest in the tournament. It has provided more teams for Finals Day (eight), and more finalists (four), than any other. With all the money that is now available it will be hoping the trend continues. Leicestershire have twice triumphed and they remain a competitive team but it is hard to believe they will oust the likes of Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Durham.



Michael Vaughan will make his eagerly awaited Twenty20 debut for Yorkshire and it will be interesting to see whether the financial benefits available bring out the best in him. Darren Gough will be desperate to pay a full role too. Dazzler loves the big stage and he will want to show audiences what they will miss when he retires at the end of the season.



Andrew Flintoff will return at some stage, and the sight of 'Big Fred' thundering in at Old Trafford should get them flocking in. In Stuart Law, Lou Vincent, Glenn Chapple and Dominic Cork Lancashire have plenty of other experienced players too, defying the view that Twenty20 is a young persons game.



Durham continue to make progress and, like Leicestershire, seem to benefit from an excellent team spirit. Nottinghamshire appear more suited to the longer game but in Samit Patel they have a young all-rounder who should interest the Indian Premier League. Derbyshire will have done extremely well to reach the Quarter Finals.



To qualify - Lancashire, Durham.



Midlands/Wales, West Group



Somerset won the Twenty20 Cup in 2005 and Gloucestershire reached last years final but this group has had only limited success in this form of cricket. Somerset will be the side to beat. Under the captaincy of Australia's Justin Langer they will not be short of enthusiasm and the team wil contain several star players.



Twenty20 was made for batsmen ike Marcus Trescothick and Ian Backwell, thunderous hitters of a cricket ball. Langer gives it a bit of tap too. James Hildreth is a class act too and this quartet should score hundreds of runs at Taunton. At the IPL Glenn McGrath showed that a good old 'un can cut it with the young guns and Andy Caddick , fitness permitting, will be hoping to do the same.



Warwickshire, under Ashley Giles, are going through a period of transition, whilst the confidence of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire must be low, neither of whom have made a good start to the season. Glamorgan have improved and Herschelle Gibbs could prove to be an excellent signing. The South African is destructive with the bat and brilliant in the field.



Northamptonshire have five rebel players, cricketers who played in this years Indian Cricket League, on their staff and could be dangerous. Everybody knows how dangerous Lance Klusener can be whilst Nicky Boje and Andrew Hall are very capable all-rounders. Johan van der Wath is a good cricketer too.



To qualify - Somerset, Northamptonshire.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game