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|RN ten Doeschate||23||18||1||1||127.78|
|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||29||1||7.25|
Hampshire are struggling in early days of Vitality T20 Blast and things have been pretty similar for the Essex Eagles as well. Both Essex and Hampshire have tasted defeat thrice in the competition so far and now the two teams are set to meet each other at Couty Ground, Chelmsford on 21st July 2018. Hampshire haven't played a T20 Blast match for a while now and now they have two successive games on Friday and Saturday. It will be interesting to see how they deal with the unfamiliar bottom of the table position. The Eagles, on the other hand, had to stay content with one point as their match against Gloucestershire was washed out due to the rain.
It was the same old story for the Essex Eagles as they failed to capitalize on the start their top-order provided. Batting first against Gloucestershire, Varun Chopra and Adam Wheater started in flying fashion as the duo added 50 runs in just over five overs. They continued to build their innings with Tom Westley working well with Chopra. At one moment they were over a 100 runs in the eleventh over and were eyeing at least a total of 200.
However, here the old story repeated itself and they lost six wickets in the last nine overs scoring 64 runs in the process. Dan Lawrence looked good for a brief period, but he too could not stay at the crease for more than 8 deliveries. Had it not been Neil Wagner's 8-ball 16, the Eagles would have been shot for way less than they aimed for at the halfway stage.
The match was stopped due to rain with 10 deliveries to spare and was eventually called off. Considering the way bowlers have bowled for Essex in this season and their batting collapse towards the end of their innings, the Eagles will be happier of the two sides to share the points. Hampshire is a strong team and Essex will need to improve their performance exponentially to topple one of the most consistent sides in the T20 circuit.
Varun Chopra, Adam Wheater, Tom Westley, RS Bopara, RN ten Doeschate, Dan Lawrence, SR Harmer, N Wagner, Adam Zampa, Jamie Porter, Matthew Quinn.
Three matches and three losses is pretty uncharacteristic of a team like Hampshire. Unlike some of the other teams, almost all of the Hampshire's matches in this season have been close games and taking them lightly will not be a good idea.
Their batsmen appeared to find some rhythm in their last match, against Middlesex. Batting first against them, James Vince and Colin Munro blasted Middlesex's bowlers as the duo followed by Northeast-Munro partnership took the total to 56 within the powerplay overs. However, they too experienced a story similar to that of the Eagles as their middle order failed to capitalize on the start and ended up scoring just 56 in their last seven overs. Hampshire were all-out for 184 with two balls to spare.
It wasn't match-winning total by Hampshire, but it was a competitive total nonetheless. They needed to make early inroads into the Middlesex's batting lineup to have a chance to defend a mediocre total on a smallish ground. At the time of writing, Middlesex were 40 for 1 in a little under five overs. Chris Wood picked up dangerous Paul Stirling, but their other bowlers didn't look to be threatening. Regardless of the result of their match against Middlesex, it is high time for Hampshire to pick up the pace and rise up the ranks to have a realistic chance to qualify for the knockouts and given the experience they have, taking them lightly will not be a wise decision for any team.
J Vince, Colin Munro, Sam Northeast, RR Rossouw, Tom Alsop, LA Dawson, Lewis McManus, CP Wood, RA Stevenson, FH Edwards, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Hampshire were one of the most fancied sides to finish among the top teams of the tournament when it all began. Their dismal performance has been a surprise to one and all and along with poor execution at some points, they've had their share of bad luck as well. With the experienced top-order of Vince, Munro, Northeast, and Russouw, they have one of the best batting lineups in the competition. The presence of Mujeeb Ur Rahman gives variety to their bowling attack. Essex, on the other hand, are struggling with a poor display of both batting and bowling in the middle overs. Considering the team on paper, Hampshire appear to be a better-balanced team as compared to Essex, albeit by a paper-thin margin and are better placed to win the upcoming encounter between the two sides.