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|RE Van Der Merwe||2.0||0||8||1||4.00|
The South Group points table in Vitality T20 Blast is in a pretty delicate shape with most of the teams still in chance to qualify for the playoffs. Things will get a lot clearer with the result of the next match in the competition which is to be played between Somerset and Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton on Friday, 9th August. Hampshire and Somerset with seven and six points respectively to their name still have a pretty good chance to qualify for the playoffs. They'd however, both need to register a win here in this match, making this contest an important one.
Hampshire have had a long break in their campaign and are coming into this match with a little less than a week's break. While the fatigue which was apparent in their previous match would have subdued a bit, the lack of recent match practice, especially after finding some rhythm could hurt them.
They're coming off a heart-wrenching loss in their previous match, which was against Kent, wherein they were defeated by a narrow margin of four wickets with just one ball remaining. Batting first on a difficult day to bat, Hampshire could put only 135 runs on the board with none of their batsmen going on to score something big. Had Kyle Abbott held his nerve after picking a wicket on the first delivery of final over, things could have been different for the Hants.
Apart from a poor result in their last match, Hampshire have injury issues to deal with as well. Mason Crane is ruled out of the next fixture due to side strain and his boots will be tough to fill. Apart from that, Hampshire still have a pretty good unit, at least on paper, and Somerset will need to do well to hunt them down.
Aneurin Donald, Rilee Rossouw, J Vince, Sam Northeast, LA Dawson, Chris Morris, James Fuller, Lewis McManus, Brad Taylor, CP Wood, KY Abbott.
Somerset started off their campaing in a terrific manner, chasing down a total of 180-odd runs with considerable ease. However, they lost their way after that and are now reeling in the bottom half of the table.
Batting has so far been their forte and if they are to qualify for the next round, their bowlers would have to join the party. So far, its primarily been Babar Azam and Tom Banton, who have been brilliant in the tournament so far. Apart from them, however, the other batsmen have been on and off, as far as form is concerned.
They're coming off a remarkable win over Essex Eagles wherein they pummeled the Eagles in both departments of the game. Batting first, Somerset set up a towering total of 226 with Babar Azam playing a terrific innings upfront. Their bowlers bowled brilliantly thereafter as they dismissed the Eagles for just 111 runs, winning the match by 115 runs and boosting their net run-rate massively in the process.
Tom Banton, Babar Azam, JC Hildreth, TB Abell, EJ Byrom, Tom Lammonby, RE Van Der Merwe, Craig Overton, TD Groenewald, Jerome Taylor, MTC Waller.
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matches to go in the league stage of the competition, the result of this match could be pivotal as far as the qualification scenarios are concerned. For Somerset to have a realistic chance to qualify, it is imperative for them to register a win here. Their middle order appeared to be back in form and with Tom Banton and Babar Azam already in superb form, their batting unit appears to be nothing less than a beast. Hampshire, on the other hand, are struggling with the bat as well as due to the injury issues. For those reasons, we think that Somerset are better placed to emerge on top on Friday.
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