About the Match
It will be the clash of the week when table toppers Hampshire with 4 points from three matches take on Essex, which is at the second place with 4 points from two matches, on 30th May at Southampton. After losing the first match, Hampshire came back strong by scoring back-to-back wins, first against Sussex and then against Middlesex by a huge margin. On the other hand, Essex won both its matches till now, one against Middlesex and the other against Glamorgan; it will be eager to keep the winning momentum going and give a touch challenge to Hampshire on Friday.
Their strong batting line-up helped them pile up a big total against Middlesex on Sunday, with 198 on board the bowlers had enough room to build a frontal attack against the already struggling opponents; Briggs with 3-20 was the most effective and economical while Smith took 2 wickets and along with Coles, Abbott and Wood made it difficult for Middlesex to survive. The openers, Vince and Adams have been consistent in laying a strong foundation for the others down the order; Wheater, Shah and Ervine have sharp skills and have been performing well for the cause of the team. The team is shaping up nicely and being at the top must definitely give them an advantage going up against the tough Essex, which has not yet won a match in the tournament; Hampshire needs to focus on its positives and bring out the best on Friday.
The team has everything going for it at the moment and being at par with Hampshire and Sussex in tow, they will try to emerge as the new table toppers by winning the contest. In their last outing against Glamorgan, which had set a competitive total of 189 runs, the batsmen kept their nerves together and blasted away fours and sixes to make mockery of the target. While Westley and Foakes scored 45+ runs each to build a strong 78-run partnership for the 3rd wicket, Ryder, Foster and Smith did well to keep the scoreboard ticking and piling up the runs. They reached the target and more with 2 balls to spare and 4 wickets in hand. Ryder brings to the table his all-round skills as he demonstrated against Glamorgan by taking 2 wickets and giving away just 24 runs; Topley was phenomenal against Middlesex taking 3 crucial wickets and following it up against Glamorgan by claiming 2 wickets along with Salisbury, who too took 2 wickets. Panesar, Sikandar and Smith leaked away too many runs and need to bring in more discipline. Overall the team looks confident going up against Hampshire and will prove to be a tough team to beat here.
While Hampshire has a strong set of players, who are capable of delivering to the best of their abilities, Essex is emerging to be formidable force to reckon with. Though the match may swing either way, we feel that the winning momentum of Essex will continue even in this tough contest.
Essex, 2.20 @ TitanBet