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Cricket news - Somerset slight favorites in One-Day Cup final

Kyle Abbot with his experience will hold the key for Hampshire

The Lord's final between Hampshire and Somerset on Saturday is likely to be the last of its kind, at least for the foreseeable future. From next season, the domestic 50-over competition in England will be played at the same time as the ECB's new-fangled format, The Hundred, removing the 100 or so best white-ball players from the one-day tournament. As a result, it will be, as the ECB's chief operations officer Gordon Hollins said recently, little more than a "development competition". We had best enjoy tomorrow's final, then.

Downgrading the quality of the domestic 50-over tournament at a time when England's ODI team is the best in the world seems an incongruous move even if it's debateable whether the resurgence of Eoin Morgan's team since the last World Cup is more due to the strength of the Royal London One-Day Cup or the leadership of Morgan and head coach Trevor Bayliss. Even so, the likes of Jason Roy and Adil Rashid have played a lot of List A cricket for their counties and improved by playing high-quality first-team cricket. That same opportunity won't be there for the next generation, many of whom may never play another 50-over game if they are picked up by a Hundred franchise.

Downgrading the quality of the domestic 50-over tournament at a time when England's ODI team is the best in the world seems an incongruous move even if it's debateable whether the resurgence of Eoin Morgan's team since the last World Cup is more due to the strength of the Royal London One-Day Cup or the leadership of Morgan and head coach Trevor Bayliss. Even so, the likes of Jason Roy and Adil Rashid have played a lot of List A cricket for their counties and improved by playing high-quality first-team cricket. That same opportunity won't be there for the next generation, many of whom may never play another 50-over game if they are picked up by a Hundred franchise.

There may be a few mitigating positives, but not many. The 50-over games are likely to be taken to more outgrounds which is generally a good thing, spreading the game around the country, and there will certainly be plenty of opportunities for younger players to show their wares. There will also be a number of experienced players still knocking around to help guide them but the quality of cricket simply cannot hope to match the standard of this season's competition. And this year, played in a block between April 17 and May 12, it has been an excellent advert for the county game.

There may be a few mitigating positives, but not many. The 50-over games are likely to be taken to more outgrounds which is generally a good thing, spreading the game around the country, and there will certainly be plenty of opportunities for younger players to show their wares. There will also be a number of experienced players still knocking around to help guide them but the quality of cricket simply cannot hope to match the standard of this season's competition. And this year, played in a block between April 17 and May 12, it has been an excellent advert for the county game.

Hampshire, last year's winners, will hope to defend their title while south coast neighbours Somerset, the perennial nearly men of the last few seasons, are hunting their first piece of silverware since they won the Twenty20 Cup in 2005. Both teams have been the standout sides in 50-over cricket this year and are evenly matched but the absence of James Vince, averaging 72 in the tournament, and Liam Dawson, 274 runs at 45.66 and 18 wickets at 20.33, because of England duty will be keenly felt by Hampshire. Without those two, Somerset probably start as slight favourites.

Hampshire, last year's winners, will hope to defend their title while south coast neighbours Somerset, the perennial nearly men of the last few seasons, are hunting their first piece of silverware since they won the Twenty20 Cup in 2005. Both teams have been the standout sides in 50-over cricket this year and are evenly matched but the absence of James Vince, averaging 72 in the tournament, and Liam Dawson, 274 runs at 45.66 and 18 wickets at 20.33, because of England duty will be keenly felt by Hampshire. Without those two, Somerset probably start as slight favourites.

Both sides have been in dominant form in the competition. Hampshire won seven and lost just one of their group games to finish top of the south group and then, after an early batting wobble, beat Lancashire by four-wickets in the semi-final. Somerset, by contrast, took longer to warm-up, finishing third in the group stages with three defeats, and had to play a quarter-final as a result. They bulldozed Worcestershire in that match and then did the same in their semi-final against Nottinghamshire. Two knock-out matches, two 100-plus run victories. They are certainly in fine fettle now.

Both sides have been in dominant form in the competition. Hampshire won seven and lost just one of their group games to finish top of the south group and then, after an early batting wobble, beat Lancashire by four-wickets in the semi-final. Somerset, by contrast, took longer to warm-up, finishing third in the group stages with three defeats, and had to play a quarter-final as a result. They bulldozed Worcestershire in that match and then did the same in their semi-final against Nottinghamshire. Two knock-out matches, two 100-plus run victories. They are certainly in fine fettle now.

There has been a slight break between the semi-finals and tomorrow's final with two rounds of Championship matches in between. Both sides won their matches this week, giving them further confidence, but after a stint of red-ball cricket, whichever set of players adapts quickest back to the 50-over format will take some stopping. That could be the key to the game.

There has been a slight break between the semi-finals and tomorrow's final with two rounds of Championship matches in between. Both sides won their matches this week, giving them further confidence, but after a stint of red-ball cricket, whichever set of players adapts quickest back to the 50-over format will take some stopping. That could be the key to the game.

There will be plenty of other interesting sub-plots to the day, not least in how Somerset's 20 year-old opener Tom Banton, who former England captain Michael Vaughan has compared to Kevin Pietersen, fares against Hampshire's Kyle Abbot, a fast-bowler who has seen plenty of big occasions before and who won't be backing down with the new ball. In the middle overs how will the attacking leg-spin of Mason Crane, a cricketer of enormous potential, go without the miserliness of Dawson's left-armers at the other end? Will Somerset be able to handle the pressure of a Lord's final and the search for the piece of silverware this group of players so desperately wants? Will Sam Northeast or James Hildreth, two of the best county batsmen of recent times, who arguably should have played for England, come out on top? All will be resolved tomorrow.

There will be plenty of other interesting sub-plots to the day, not least in how Somerset's 20 year-old opener Tom Banton, who former England captain Michael Vaughan has compared to Kevin Pietersen, fares against Hampshire's Kyle Abbot, a fast-bowler who has seen plenty of big occasions before and who won't be backing down with the new ball. In the middle overs how will the attacking leg-spin of Mason Crane, a cricketer of enormous potential, go without the miserliness of Dawson's left-armers at the other end? Will Somerset be able to handle the pressure of a Lord's final and the search for the piece of silverware this group of players so desperately wants? Will Sam Northeast or James Hildreth, two of the best county batsmen of recent times, who arguably should have played for England, come out on top? All will be resolved tomorrow.

Whatever this tournament ends up as in the years that follow, this will be the last Lord's domestic 50-over final after more than 50 years. From next season, it will move to Trent Bridge in another departure from tradition. For those players taking part then, it is a day to treasure. Many of them may never get back here, many may never experience the uniqueness of a Lord's 50-over final again, may never have the chance to show what they can do on the biggest domestic stage there has been. After all, rightly or wrongly, The Hundred seemingly trumps everything.

Whatever this tournament ends up as in the years that follow, this will be the last Lord's domestic 50-over final after more than 50 years. From next season, it will move to Trent Bridge in another departure from tradition. For those players taking part then, it is a day to treasure. Many of them may never get back here, many may never experience the uniqueness of a Lord's 50-over final again, may never have the chance to show what they can do on the biggest domestic stage there has been. After all, rightly or wrongly, The Hundred seemingly trumps everything.

One can only hope that these two fine sides do this last Lord's final justice.

One can only hope that these two fine sides do this last Lord's final justice.

When: Saturday May 25, 2019. 11am local time.

When: Saturday May 25, 2019. 11am local time.

Where:Lord's, London.

Where:Lord's, London.

What to expect: The surface for the final should be a decent enough one for batting even if there has only been one score of over 300 at Lord's this season. The weather looks mixed - and there could be rain around - which might provide some overhead assistance for the quick men.

What to expect: The surface for the final should be a decent enough one for batting even if there has only been one score of over 300 at Lord's this season. The weather looks mixed - and there could be rain around - which might provide some overhead assistance for the quick men.

Team News:

Team News:

Hampshire: In Dawson's absence, Hampshire are likely to select just one spinner in Crane while Sam Northeast will deputise for Vince as captain. Former West Indies quick Fidel Edwards may take the ball alongside Abbott, as he did in the semi-final, and Aneurin Donald, who joined from Glamorgan over the winter, will open the batting.

Hampshire: In Dawson's absence, Hampshire are likely to select just one spinner in Crane while Sam Northeast will deputise for Vince as captain. Former West Indies quick Fidel Edwards may take the ball alongside Abbott, as he did in the semi-final, and Aneurin Donald, who joined from Glamorgan over the winter, will open the batting.

Possible XI: Tom Alsop, Aneurin Donald, Joe Weatherley, Sam Northeast, Rilee Rossouw, Lewis McManus, Gareth Berg, James Fuller, Kyle Abbott, Fidel Edwards, Mason Crane

Possible XI: Tom Alsop, Aneurin Donald, Joe Weatherley, Sam Northeast, Rilee Rossouw, Lewis McManus, Gareth Berg, James Fuller, Kyle Abbott, Fidel Edwards, Mason Crane

Somerset: Captain Tom Abell has a full squad to pick from, including Craig Overton who tops the county's batting and bowling averages in this competition. He will be joined in the pace attack by his brother Jamie, who is on loan at Northamptonshire but has returned for the final, and Lewis Gregory, highly-thought of by England.

Somerset: Captain Tom Abell has a full squad to pick from, including Craig Overton who tops the county's batting and bowling averages in this competition. He will be joined in the pace attack by his brother Jamie, who is on loan at Northamptonshire but has returned for the final, and Lewis Gregory, highly-thought of by England.

Possible XI: Tom Banton, Azhar Ali, Peter Trego, James Hildreth, Tom Abell, George Bartlett, Lewis Gregory, Roloef ven der Merwe, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Josh Davey.

Possible XI: Tom Banton, Azhar Ali, Peter Trego, James Hildreth, Tom Abell, George Bartlett, Lewis Gregory, Roloef ven der Merwe, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Josh Davey.

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