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We are still a couple of days away from the beginning of Vitality T20 Blast and all the teams have already started to gear up to mark a solid beginning. Worcestershire Rapids are set to take on Glamorgan in a Central Group contest on the opening day of the competition. The two sides had a contrasting season last year, but with a new beginning and a lot of changes, they both will start with a fresh sheet. The match between the two sides is to be played on 27th August 2020 at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.
Coming off a disastrous season last year, Glamorgan has a point to prove and will be out with a purpose. T20 Blast 2019 was a tournament that the Glamorgan fans will love to forget. Inclement conditions chased them across the venues as Glamorgan struggled for consistency. Of all the matches played, Glamorgan managed to win just one and remarkably most of their points came through the wash-outs.
Glamorgan's over-reliance on Colin Ingram was well and truly apparent last year, but with Ingram no longer available this time around, they have no option but to look up to their youngsters. The recent signing of Andrew Balbirnie appears to be decent as Balbirnie can play a sheet-anchor role in the middle-order and has the ability to accelerate when needed. Alongside Balbirnie, the onus will lie with Chris Cooke, their most experienced player. Cooke has been impressive in the Bob Willis Trophy and his gritty character could come in handy to inspire Glamorgan's youngsters.
On paper, Glamorgan's bowling appears a bit better than their batting, though their bowling isn't flawless either. With Timm van Gugten up and running after an injury, Glamorgan has a decent bowler to complement Marchant de Lange to bowl upfront. The absence of David Llyod, who is out due to injury, is certainly going to be felt. Glamorgan has a decent pool of young players and a lot will depend on their performance for Glamorgan to last in the tournament.
All in all, this is a depleted Glamorgan side - hampered heavily by the absence of their overseas players. To get a good start, they would need their senior players to fire early in the tournament, which could yet again prove to be a long one for them.
Playing 11 not yet available.
Considering the finishes that they had last year and the year before, Worcestershire Rapids will be brimming with confidence. They won the title in 2018 and followed it up with a runners-up position in 2019. Their performance across the last two seasons speaks volumes about their consistency. Going just by the team's performance in recent history, they tick all the boxes. Having said that, they, too, have some uncertainties to deal with this time around.
Worcestershire didn't have a flawless run in the league stage last year. In fact, they just managed to sneak into the top four and then pressed on the gas pedal. Moeen Ali was instrumental in their run last year and his absence this year could have a telling impact. Ali is once again unlikely to be available for the most part of the tournament with England taking on Pakistan and Australia in the shorter versions of the game.
Worcestershire Rapids is one of the very few sides that did not rely a lot on overseas players. Despite most overseas players out of the competition, the Rapids' strength with the bat as well as with the bowl seems intact. With Riki Wessels and Hamish Rutherford available in the playing eleven, they have perfect ingredients required for a powerful start at the top. They have a good number of versatile all-rounders available at their disposal and that adds to their batting depth with compromising with the bowling.
Pat Brown was their stand-out performer with the ball at the death and is going to be a threat once again. With the likes of Ed Barnard and Wayne Parnell available, this bowling lineup looks as lethal as it was last year.
All in all, Worcestershire Rapids is a remarkably well-balanced side. Despite the likely absence of Moeen Ali, there is an immaculate balance between bat and ball, largely due to the presence of versatile all-rounders. As has been the case in the previous two seasons, Worcestershire Rapids could prove to be one of the toughest teams to deal with in the tournament.
Playing 11 not yet available.
It is well and truly known that there is a significant advantage for the team chasing when the DLS method is involved. With rain likely to have a say in this match, the DLS method coming into the picture seems probable. Considering that as well as the uncertainties about the surface, the team winning the toss is expected to bowl first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Similar to other parts of England, Thursday is expected to be a rainy day in Cardiff. However, there are predictions of rain getting lighter in the evening and if that happens, we should get a game in. Sophia Gardens at Cardiff is generally a high-scoring venue and it is likely to be the case this time around as well. With surface likely to stay under covers leading up to the game, there could be some assistance on offer for the fast bowlers. The team batting first will want to put a total of at least 170 runs on the board.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team lineup for the upcoming Vitality T20 Blast match between Glamorgan and Worcestershire Rapids
The two teams are coming off contrasting seasons and will want to start with a win, albeit for different reasons. An early win for Glamorgan will instill belief and confidence in the squad, the confidence which can be of significant importance after a disastrous season. The Rapids, on the other hand, will want to hit the ground running and continue from where they left off. Although Glamorgan has the home advantage here, Worcestershire Rapids is an overall better side, and is, therefore, our pick to emerge on top in Thursday's encounter.
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