About the Match
Sussex Sharks will face Middlesex Panthers in a do-or-die game on July 16th, 2013 at Hove. Sussex has managed to win only one of six games played by them and it is high time that they win if they want to stay alive in this tournament. Middlesex Panthers are placed in the middle of the table and a win will take them to the first spot ahead of Hampshire and Surrey. With a couple more games played than the top two, Middlesex would have to win to stay on par and in race to the first position in the group. Both the teams have strength to win in this encounter and I expect it to be a thrilling encounter.
The Panthers have shown their strength by beating star-studded Essex lineup on two occasions. In the more recent of the two encounters, they restricted potent lineup of Essex to paltry total of 78 and then chased it down quite comfortably. Apart from their victories against Eagles, they’ve won two more games in this competition with both coming against Kent Spitfires. Their wicketkeeper batsman Adam Rossington is in fine touch and has provided the thrust required in the later overs. David Malan has been superb at the top along with Joe Denly. Their bowling lineup is bolstered by Kiwi quickie Kyle Mills and his recent performance has been excellent. Considering their form and lineup, they can be really hard to beat, especially for out of form Sussex.
Despite having the most explosive top four in the competition, the Sharks have managed only one victory and that was against Middlesex. Dwayne Smith has the ability game on his head as he did in the IPL final. Matt Machan scored a destructive half-century in the last game against Essex. Rory Hamilton-Brown has also been in good form since his comeback. Their lower middle-order, however, has struggled for runs and it their performance would be crucial here. Sharks bowling might look a little weak as they do not have an imposing strike bowler, but this is very well compensated by variety of options they have due to many all-rounders at disposal. Sussex is a side that can score and chase massive totals and can prove to be a headache for Panthers.
It will be a match in which one team will be targeting top spot whereas the other will be looking to post a win to just stay in contention for the knockouts. It’s really hard to choose between the sides as both have excellent lineups on paper. However, Panthers’ form is far better than that of Sharks; having said that, they’d be wary of the fact that they were beaten badly by Sharks in their last encounter. Sussex looked to be gaining some form in their last game and their last result against Middlesex will certainly give them confidence. Sharks’ batting and options they have in bowling tempt me to place my money on them.
Sussex Sharks, 1.90 @ Bet365