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|RN ten Doeschate||26||21||2||0||123.81|
|RE Van Der Merwe||4.0||0||22||1||5.50|
Teams are starting to look at their position on the league table a lot more seriously as the Vitality Blast 2018 moves towards the business end of the season. Somerset has not done its reputation of being an excellent T20 side any harm by winning five of its eight matches so far. It is in the qualification zone right now and will want to stay there. Its opponent, Essex, has been hapless. Essex has lost four out of the seven matches, tied one, and won only one match so far. The remaining one match was washed out.
Somerset is coming into this match on the back of two excellent wins where its batting strength stood out. The team scored 229 against Middlesex and then followed it up with 197 against Hampshire. Essex has a pretty weak bowling attack and so the Somerset players would be itching to get on the field.
A number of batsmen have scored runs for Somerset indicating the depth that the side possesses. There is no one player that they are dependent on but they would like to see Corey Anderson and Lewis Gregory continue their good run in the tournament.
Anderson is the highest run-getter for the side right now with 273 runs scored at a strike rate of 170.62. He has also smashed 17 sixes in the tournament up until now indicating that he is batting at his best. Gregory has score 189 runs for the side but his strike rate of 200.43 is above all others.
Apart from these two, Hildreth has 196 runs to his name, Trego 178, while Abell, Myburgh, and Davies have all contributed as well.
Somerset should be fairly confident of getting another good score at the batting paradise that is Taunton.
The bowling has been a bit of a mixed bag so far. Lewis Gregory, Jamie Overton, and Roelof van der Merwe have had some good games and some terrible ones. The three of them along with Taylor will be hoping to get more consistent as the knockouts approach.
Tom Banton, JG Myburgh, PD Trego, JC Hildreth, TB Abell, Corey Anderson, Lewis Gregory, RE Van Der Merwe, Jamie Overton, Jerome Taylor, MTC Waller.
There are a lot of problems that Essex is facing right now. The team is dependent on two individuals a bit too heavily because the rest of the side is not playing up to potential. Varun Chopra is the best batsman of the side by some distance and Adam Zampa is clearly the best bowler for Essex right now.
Chopra has scored 251 runs at a strike rate of 127.41 while Zampa has taken 11 wickets at a brilliant economy rate of 6.77. These are the two players that have put Essex in some winning positions but the team does not seem to follow through till the end.
A poor tournament with the bat for Ravi Bopara, Ryan Ten Doeschate, and Tom Westley has meant that Essex middle order is very fragile. Teams know that they are just a couple of wickets away from being able to run through the Essex side or hold them down to a below-par total.
In a season where the average scores have been more than any other year, Essex is being left behind due to its batting.
The bowling is the same way as well. Neil Wagner has been brought in to help provide some support to Zampa but the others need to step up as well. Harmer, Bopara, and Coles need to ensure they are picking wickets or at the very least keeping a lid on the run scoring.
Essex is going to find itself out of the tournament in a hurry if it cannot change things around immediately. Traveling to Taunton is not an easy task especially because it puts the onus on the batsmen to put up a good score.
Adam Wheater, Varun Chopra, Paul Walter, RN ten Doeschate, RS Bopara, SR Harmer, Micheal Pepper, Matt Coles, Peter Siddle, Adam Zampa, Jamie Porter.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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A cloudy day with only a 10% chance of rain has been forecast so far. Hopefully, the clouds remain harmless and do not interrupt proceedings. The pitch in Taunton is absolutely flat and brilliant for batting. The outfield is also short and has some of the shortest straight boundaries in the country.
A score of around 185 should be considered par.
The current form and strength of the Somerset team are far superior to Essex. Add home advantage to that and we have a compelling package.
Back Somerset to win.