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|Jofra Chioke Archer||4.0||0||43||1||10.75|
|Timm van der Gugten||2.4||0||30||0||11.25|
The competition in South Group of Vitality T20 Blast is set to get fiercer as Glamorgan lock horns with Sussex at Sophia Gardens Cardiff on Sunday. Both Sussex and Glamorgan registered comprehensive victories in their respective games. The significance of this game is elaborated due to the fact that the winner will continue to stay at the top of the table and the loser will slide in the bottom half. It, therefore, promises to be a hard tussle between the two sides.
After a disappointing County Championship and Royal London One Day Cup, Glamorgan returned to their usual self in the first match of the T20 Blast. From finishing as semi-finalists last year to a terrible season in longer formats, they've come a complete circle and will be looking to better their last year's performance this time around.
Batting first against Hampshire, Glamorgan scored 168 runs which was a tad lower than what they wanted. Their two overseas players in Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh failed to do anything extraordinary and departed for 9 and 15 respectively. At one time, Glamorgan were found struggling, but steady contributions from everyone in their middle-order took them to a respectable total. David Llyod top-scored for them with 38 and Colin Ingram, their skipper, struck a 28-ball 35. Quick cameos from Chris Cooke and Andrew Salter took their total to 168.
While their batting was mediocre with batsmen getting starts and failing to kick on, their bowlers weaved magic with the ball. Hitting 12 runs off just 4 deliveries with the bat, he led their bowling attack by taking three crucial wickets. Graham Wagg, too, bowled beautifully and dismissed two batsmen back into the hut. Interestingly, Salter was hit for a six off his first delivery, but he kept calm and bounced back to pick Colin Munro and Rilee Rossouw in the same over. Skipper himself contributed with the ball as well; he picked up two wickets for 15 runs in just under three overs. Glamorgan skipper was buoyed by the result and the margin of it, but he'll have a job to do when they take on Sussex in their second game.
Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Colin Ingram, Aneurin Donald, Chris Cooke, David Lloyd, Graham Wagg, Andrew Salter, Craig Meschede, Michael Hogan, Timm van der Gugten.
Playing his first T20 game for Sussex, Michael Burgess played a spectacular knock of 56 off 23 deliveries which included five sixes and four fours. While he slammed and banged the Eagles' bowlers to every corner of the ground, Laurie Evans played the role of a sheet anchor beautifully. He contributed with a 61-run knock in a partnership which lasted six and a half overs and got 81 crucial runs. Small but useful contributions from Jofra Archer and David Wiese took their total to 181 which proved to be too much for Essex Eagles to get.
At the halfway stage, Sussex Sharks looked to be a comfortable 20 runs short of a par score, but David Wiese had other ideas. He single-handedly too the heart out of the Eagles' chase by taking a five-wicket haul for just 24 runs. Famous for his deceptive leg-spin and googlies, the number-one T20 bowler in the world, Rashid Khan, did not disappoint and picked up two wickets for 25. Jofra Archer contributed with the ball as well as picked up three wickets for 24.
Sussex Sharks are arguably the best bowling side of the tournament, but their batting is what a little bit iffy. Tom Bruce replaced the injured Stiaan van Zyl and he'd be needed to make contributions with the bat. Laurie Evan had a terrific One Day season and first game and his performance will be vital for the success of the Sharks.
Philip Salt, LJ Wright, Laurie Evans, Tom Bruce, Michael Burgess , D Wiese, Ollie Robinson, Jofra Chioke Archer, Rashid Khan, Will beer, Danny Briggs.
Both teams had a similar kind of last year and their start to this season was similar in many aspects. Both will be desperate to extend their winning streak and stay at the top of the table, but only one team would be able to do that. With a batting lineup that goes deep and experienced as well as versatile bowling attack, the Sharks are better placed to emerge victorious in the upcoming fixture.