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|RE Van Der Merwe||4.0||0||34||2||8.50|
|RE Van Der Merwe||2||3||0||0||66.67|
The league stage in Vitality T20 Blast finishes in three days and the race to the quarter-finals is far from over. With the only Sussex confirmed of a quarter-final berth in the south group, the battle for the remaining three spots is getting more and more intense with every passing match. The situation should get a lot clearer in a day when Somerset takes on Surrey in an all-important clash. The two teams are set to meet at the Kennington Oval in London on the evening of Tuesday, 27th August. While Surrey stand only a mathematical chance to go through, Somerset are in it with a realistic possibility, and a win here would bolster their opportunities to progress to the next round. With both sides still having a chance to qualify, albeit of different magnitudes, and a lot dependent on this upcoming fixture, we expect both the teams to come out all guns blazing in what promises to be a cracker of a contest.
Even though Surrey have a pretty good batting unit, which is complemented with a pretty varied bowling attack, their inability to replicate their on-paper strength on the field has cost them at least a couple of points, if not more, in the tournament so far. They are currently placed at the eighth spot in the points table with ten points to their name. Although a couple of wins here will take them to 14 points, they would need the margins to be high enough to improve their reduced net run rate of -0.358 and hope for the results of other match go their way.
A one-run win over Kent Spitfires in their last match kept them alive in the tournament, and they'd be looking to build on the momentum and win another couple of games. Aaron Finch has been excellent in the competition so far, but alongside him, it were splendid knocks from Mark Stoneman and Will Jacks which pushed their total to 170.
Defending that total was never going to be secure against the power-packed Spitfires' lineup, but their bowlers wore their hearts on the sleeve as they restricted Kent Spitfires to 169. Jade Dernbach was the pick of their bowlers as he not only picked up two crucial wickets but also bowled a terrific over at the death to take his side to a much-needed win.
Surrey have a pretty good unit on paper, but the lack of consistency and the ability to handle crunch situations at times have kept them in the bottom half of the table. The likes of Imran Tahir, Jade Dernbach, and Will Jacks haven't been consistent enough, but all it takes is one game for any team to turn it around. If Surrey can perform to their potential on paper, they will be a significant threat to deal with in both of their upcoming fixtures.
Aaron Finch, Mark Stoneman, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Jordan Clark, Ryan Patel, Jade Dernbach, Gareth Batty, Imran Tahir.
Somerset are currently placed at the fourth spot in the points table with 13 points to their name in 12 matches. Although they have a spectacular net run rate of +0.814 in case it gets to that, a loss here would put their chances of qualification in jeopardy. A defeat here would put them in the mix with Essex and Hampshire with Middlesex having the advantage of one extra match, which could prove to be critical at the end.
Somerset got off to a tremendous start to the tournament as they pulled off a remarkable chase, but they lost momentum after that win. They, however, picked up pace towards the middle part of the tournament with Babar Azam and Tom Banton contributing massively at the top of the order.
They are coming off a thumping win in their previous match, over Glamorgan, wherein Tom Banton and Babar Azam once again combined to get them off to a playing start. The duo added 61 runs for the first wicket, and with excellent support from their middle-order batsmen, Somerset ended up posting 177 runs on the board.
Their bowlers did wonderfully well to defend that total against a deflated Glamorgan unit, winning the match by 25 runs. Max Waller was the pick of their bowlers and returned with three wickets to his name. Tim Groenewald and Jerome Taylor contributed with a couple of wickets each.
Babar Azam, Tom Banton, JC Hildreth, TB Abell, EJ Byrom, Tom Lammonby, RE Van Der Merwe, Craig Overton, TD Groenewald, Jerome Taylor, MTC Waller.
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With a possible quarter-final spot resting on the result of this match, the significance of this match cannot be overstated. Both the teams will be looking to seal the deal with a win here in this contest. They both are coming off a pretty good win in their respective last encounters, and there's hardly anything to separate the two based on recent results. Having said that, Somerset have been a more consistent team and have dealt with pressure-cooker situations better than Surrey have, and are, therefore our pick to emerge on top in this upcoming fixture on Tuesday.
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