No side has defended the domestic Twenty20 title, with the unpredictable nature of the short format undoubtedly a contributor. That could yet change this season, with the apparent kings of the format, Hampshire, looking like they are in a strong position to challenge once again.
The last three seasons have seen the Royals claim the tournament twice, going out in the semi finals in 2011. And with players like skipper Dimitri Mascarenhas, Neil McKenzie and Michael Carberry amongst their ranks, they have the artillery to see off most teams.
Carberry opened his account in the first match of this season’s competition with a powerful 60 from 45 balls, as Hampshire saw off a Surrey side that are also fancied to be there or thereabouts come finals day.
But at 6/1 with Ladbrokes the defending champions look sublime value to go all the way once again, especially with a win already on the board.
As well as their solid backbone of domestic T20 regulars, they have a more than capable overseas player in Sohail Tanvir.
The left-arm bowler has a decent career record in this form of the game, taking 140 wickets in 124 matches, with an economy rate of 7.16. He provides the Ageas Bowl side with that extra pace option and may prove to be a shrewd piece of business.
Away from Hampshire, another side that are sure to go well are Somerset. Priced up as 9/2 favourites, Marcus Trescothick’s side will need to shake off the perennial bridesmaids tag that has seen them lose on finals day in each of the last three seasons.
Despite being a short-price at 11/10, they do look a very solid bet to claim a Midlands/Wales/West group that has seen just one other side make a finals day appearance in the last five domestic T20 competitions. But whether or not they have what it takes to finally go all the way remains to be seen.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing