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Hampshire and Gloucestershire will play their final group match against each other. There is very little consequence to the outcome of this match. Hampshire has won just one match in the entire tournament so far and would like to avoid a bottom place finish by winning this match. Gloucestershire has already qualified for the quarter-finals and would like to win this match to try and get a home quarter-final venue.
Neither of these things is going to majorly affect the two teams and so the pressure is not going to be as much on them during this match. Perhaps, Gloucestershire has more at stake considering it still has the knockouts to look forward to.
James Vince’s return to the top of the batting order did not do much good for Hampshire that struggled to get a good total on the board against Surrey. Scoring 133 on a decent pitch was never going to be enough against a strong Surrey batting unit and that was exactly how things transpired.
Hampshire now takes on Gloucestershire with the very real possibility of ending this season with just one win.
The entire season of Vitality Blast 2018 has passed without Hampshire finding its batting form and to expect them to do in the last match comes down purely to hope. They have some quality players like Vince, Northeast, and Rossouw but they have not been able to show any sort of consistency in this season.
Maybe going out and batting with freedom in their last match will help them get some runs on the board. Liam Dawson has been one of the revelations for Hampshire as he has contributed consistently with the bat and is one of the highest scorers for Hampshire this season.
Whether that stat should be taken as improvement shown by Dawson or deterioration shown by others, we do not know.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Wood, Steyn, and Dawson should in theory form a solid bowling attack. In reality, though, Mujeeb has been underwhelming, Steyn has struggled for control, and Dawson predictable.
Hampshire is going to struggle against an in-form Gloucestershire if its batsmen cannot get their act together.
J Vince, RR Rossouw, Sam Northeast, Tom Alsop, LA Dawson, Calvin Dickinson, Gareth Berg, CP Wood, DW Steyn, Tom Scriven, RA Stevenson.
A loss to Sussex in a tightly contested game robbed Gloucestershire the chance of knocking out one of the strongest teams in the competition. Gloucestershire managed to get to a decent total against a very strong bowling lineup thanks to runs from Michael Klinger and Miles Hammond.
Unfortunately for them, though, their other leading batsmen like Cockbain, Noema-Barnett, and Howell were not able to combat the Sussex bowling attack effectively.
This batting performance would have raised concerns among Gloucestershire going into the quarter-finals. They do not want to be a side that is overly dependent on just one or two batsmen. Klinger has been their best batsman this season but they cannot fold like a pack of cards if he does not get going.
We think that Gloucestershire’s batsmen will fancy playing against a struggling Hampshire before they get to the knockouts as it allows them another shot of building some momentum.
Gloucestershire’s own bowling was not too bad against Sussex but once again the dependence on a few players was apparent. Andrew Tye and Beny Howell have been the best bowlers for Gloucestershire this season. Tye was unable to have much of an impact in the last game and then put the pressure on all the other bowlers.
Only Howell was able to have some impact in terms of taking wickets but he went for plenty of runs as well.
This last performance was not one that Gloucestershire will be proud of. Another loss in this game is not going to hurt them in terms of their place in the quarter-finals but it will massively dent their confidence at a crucial time in this tournament.
MAH Hammond, M Klinger, IA Cockbain, Benny Howell, KN Barnett, JW Taylor, Ryan Higgins, AJ Tye, GH Roderick, Jacob Lintott, DA Payne.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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The weather forecast is for a clear day with only a slight chance of rain. The pitch is not going to be drastically different from the last match and will help the batsmen all throughout. A little bit of slowness has crept into the surface which may help the slower bowlers as well.
A score of about 170 should be considered par.
Gloucestershire needs to win this match much more than Hampshire. They have their quarter-finals to build towards but their form in the last couple of matches has been discouraging. Hampshire, on the other hand, has been dismal throughout the season. It is a side that has struggled throughout and we are not sure if they are really going to be looking forward to this match.
Back Gloucestershire to win.