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Can Worcestershire become the first back to back T20 winners?

Since the inception of the T20 summer series in England all the way back in 2003, no side has ever made it back to back T20 titles.

Somerset and Kent have both come close, reaching the final in 2004 and 2008 respectively after both having claimed the title on finals day the previous year, but on each occasion, both sides lost.

By that reckoning, if you are like a look at the cricket betting markets, then betting on defending champions Worcestershire Rapids this season is perhaps not the way to go.

Or is it?

Few had Worcestershire down as one of the favourites to win the tournament last year but after reaching finals day and disposing of Lancashire in the semi-final, the Rapids breezed past the Sussex Sharks with nine balls remaining and five wickets in hand.

Rapids captain Moeen Ali was on fire with the ball that day taking three for thirty whilst Ben Cox led the line with bat scoring an unbeaten 46 off 27 deliveries.

Image by Chickenonline from Pixabay

It is safe to say Sussex could not live with Worcestershire and the best news for the Rapids is both Ali and Cox remain an integral part of the side in 2019.

England star Ali may not be having a great time of it for England, but that could work in Worcestershire as the spinner is likely to get game time for his county side despite being in the midst of an Ashes series whilst overseas star Callum Ferguson has been drafted in as cover for the captain when he is absent.

However, the star names for Worcestershire do not stop there.

New Zealand ODI king Martin Guptill has joined Worcestershire having had previous spells in the t20 Blast with the likes of Derbyshire and Lancashire and England all-rounder Jack Leach will also see some action when not out in the field for the national team.

At the time of writing, Worcestershire tucked up in fourth place in the Northern table, four points ahead of the Birmingham Bears.

If it stays like that, then Alex Gidman’s Rapids will make it through to the quarter-finals and then it is anyone’s tournament for the taking.

With struggling Northamptonshire Steelbacks up to play next, reaching the last eight is now the minimum requirement for the side that up until last year had never reached the final day let alone won the tournament.

However, once again, Lancashire Lightening look the real class act of the Northern division whilst last year’s beaten finalist Sussex Sharks will be out for revenge will be in the last eight.

The history books are undoubtedly against the Rapids, but then again, they were last year, and they still won it.

Worcestershire boast a stronger squad than last season and have retained and built well upon their success in 2018 without resting on their laurels.

There is still much cricket to be played but if ever we are likely to the first back to back winners of the T20 Blast, then 2019 has a better than even chance in our eyes.

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