About the Match
Somerset defeated Hampshire by 6 wickets in their last outing to acquire 7 points and come to the 5th position in the South Group table; they will take on Middlesex, who are placed 6th with 5 points on 23rd June at Lord’s. The hosts suffered defeat against Surrey recently by 29 runs after failing to achieve the 174-run target; they had previously registered a convincing win against Essex while the match against Sussex at Lord’s was washed away by rain. If weather permits, both teams will be determined to dominate the other and improve their standings in the group with a win on Thursday.
Chasing a competitive total of 174 against Surrey, the top-order collapsed and they were 5-58; batsmen like Morgan, Dawid Malan and Brendon McCullum were dismissed quickly while the lower order struggled to keep the runs flowing. James Franklin was the lone fighter scoring 39 off 30 deliveries; they were all-out for just 144 runs on board. Earlier, spinner Rayner took 3-23 putting up a tremendous effort to restrict the opponents while McClenaghan and Steven Finn contributed with 3 wickets between them but the others couldn’t break partnerships.
Against Essex, Eoin Morgan posted an unbeaten 59 off 41 to take the total to a challenging 173, which the bowlers led by McClenaghan’s 4-33 defended successfully to win the match by 17 runs. Spinners Nathan Sowter and Paul Stirling found a wicket each while fast-bowler Tom Help provided the opening breakthrough with Jesse Ryder’s wicket. Batsmen like Dawid Malan, Stirling and McCullum must come out all guns blazing to build stiff totals or help the team chase targets.
The bowling department has in-form Kiwi speedster Mitchell McClenaghan, James Fuller, Tom Helm, the Irish all-rounder spinner Stirling and Aussie spinner Nathan Sowter; they bring a good balance in spin and pace and if they can strategize well against Somerset batsmen, they surely can win this one.
Fast-bowler Jamie Overton and spinner Max Waller took 4 wickets each to stifle Hampshire to 133 runs. Big-hitters Chris Gayle and Jayawardene used their special skills to keep the scoreboard ticking; while Gayle posted a superb 52 from 39, the Lankan legend steered the team across the finish line with a well-made 45 and won the match by 6 wickets with 26 balls to spare.
Captain Jim Allenby, Peter Trego and Johann Myburgh need to be consistent in scoring the runs and not heavily depend on Gayle and Jayawardene, who are in good form as of now and are vital to the attack. Against the Gloucs, Gayle provided the fireworks but the others failed to build steady partnerships and could post only 158; despite spinner Roelof van der Merwe registering a superb 3-16, they lost the match by 4 wickets.
Yasir Arafat, Overton and Lewis Gregory add depth to the pace attack while Merwe is in good form with his spin; the batting line-up must focus on getting the big runs to challenge the opponent here.
Both teams have had mixed runs so far and they will try to start climbing up the ladder with a win here; although the contest could go down to the wire, we feel that with overseas batting stalwarts, Somerset is better positioned to emerge victorious on Thursday