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Surrey and Sussex were two of the more fancied teams in the Vitality Blast 2018 and both of them remain well in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals. Both teams have very similar records at this stage in the competition and winning this match would provide a crucial boost to both sides. On the face of it, this match looks to be a contest between the Surrey batting might and the Sussex bowling but it could be more than that.
Can Sussex recover from its midseason slump which has seen it win just one match from its last six or will Surrey complete the double over Sussex this season?
With three wins from its last four matches, Surrey has hit some excellent form in the competition. Its batting superstars have come to the party and the side has hit a score of 200 or near bouts with remarkable consistency. In fact, the highest score of the Vitality Blast 2018, 250, has been hit by Surrey this season.
The first time these two sides played against each other, Aaron Finch scored 131 and led Surrey to an absolute rout of Sussex.
Finch has continued his imperious form in the competition and has hit two centuries, two fifties, and a total of 478 runs from his seven innings this season. His 27 sixes and 48 fours and way more than anyone else in this team and make him the most dangerous batsman in the side.
If he gets away, Surrey is almost certain of winning. He is, however, not the only star batsman in the side. Jason Roy, Nic Maddinson, Ben Foakes, and Rikki Clarke are all excellent T20 batsmen and capable of winning matches for the side.
The side is also not too short of quality bowling options thanks to the return of Tom Curran to the side. He has picked up 6 wickets for Surrey in four matches and adds more international class to an attack that already has Morne Morkel, Jade Dernbach, Gareth Batty, and Rikki Clarke.
Surrey was billed as the pre-tournament favorite and the form of its leading batsmen is helping it live up to that reputation. Sussex is going to have a tough time reigning in this side.
Rory Burns, JJ Roy, Nic Maddinson, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Rikki Clarke, Tom Curran, MW Pillans, Morne Morkel, Gareth Batty, Jade Dernbach.
A couple of rained out games, a few losses due to some indifferent batting performances, and some missing players have left Sussex out of rhythm at this crucial juncture in the tournament. The team needs to start making the right moves and winning matches otherwise it could quickly slide out of contention.
Sussex would have been very disappointed at losing the last game to Somerset which seemed in the bag but got away from them in the last couple of overs. David Wiese had a horror game on that occasion giving away 52 runs in his four overs for no wicket.
The Sussex bowling side has Rashid Khan, Jofra Archer, and Chris Jordan in its lineup. These are three of the best T20 bowlers in the world and surely the team must be doing better than it has. Stopping the Surrey batting unit is not going to be easy but these three bowlers have the experience of knocking over big batsmen when the moment requires it.
Rashid Khan took three wickets for just 29 runs in his four overs in the last game and is in excellent form. He and Archer could derail the Surrey batting juggernaut.
Sussex is also going to need some runs from its batsmen and they are more than capable of providing them. Salt, Wright, Evans, and Bruce make for a very strong top order. Evans scored 96 in the last match and is the highest scorer for the team with 343 runs but we are looking at Luke Wright to rewind the clock and put on a batting masterclass.
Sussex is a very good T20 team and has all the ingredients to take it to the very top. They need to be aggressive and get into the Surrey side early because there is no getting away by holding back against them.
Philip Salt, LJ Wright, Laurie Evans, Delray Rawlins, Tom Bruce, Michael Burgess , Chris Jordan, Jofra Chioke Archer, Rashid Khan, Danny Briggs, TS Mills.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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The weather forecast is for some rain and clouds hovering around all day. The forecast improves in the evening when the match is scheduled to start but we could see a bowling dominated contest this time around. The Oval always has some good bounce and carry in it which makes it attractive for both the batsmen and bowlers.
The dry weather preceding the match could bring the spinners into play as well.
A score of around 170 could be par.
We are backing the stronger bowling side in this contest, which is Sussex. Rashid Khan and Jofra Archer are in excellent form and they could win this match for their side.
Back Sussex to win.
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