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|James Robert Bracey||10||11||0||0||90.91|
Once floating in the middle of the points table, Gloucestershire picked up pace in the last leg of the league stage in Vitality T20 series, and are now in a pretty good position to make it to the next round. In the South Group of the tournament, the table is still wide open with Sussex being the only team, which has confirmed its spot in the top-eight. The upcoming match between Gloucestershire and Sussex Sharks would clear the final standings at the ladder. The Sharks and Gloucestershire are both playing a game before this match, and the result of that match could have a vital influence on the final standings of Gloucestershire. Having said that, a win for Gloucs against Sussex in this upcoming fixture should be good enough to seal them a quarter-final spot, which is what they'll be aiming for. The two teams are set to clash at the County Cricket Ground, Hove on 30th August.
The Sharks have undoubtedly been the team of the tournament. They have lost just two matches, and with eight wins to their name, stand tall in the South Group ladder with 19 points to their name. Their net run rate of +0.905 is evidence of their dominance in the competition so far.
It's been a long time since the Sharks played their last match in the tournament, three days to be precise, and this mini-break should have helped them rejuvenate before the business end of the competition. They are coming off a couple of excellent results in their last two matches, beating Middlesex and Glamorgan, in the same order.
In their last match, their bowlers did pretty well at Cardiff, a high-scoring venue, as they restricted Glamorgan to 174 in 20 overs. Their batsmen then made a feast of that total as they chased it down with more than three overs to spare and seven wickets in hand.
With Luke Wright not available to play in their last match, Alex Carey was promoted to open the innings, and he couldn't have utilized the opportunity any better. He smashed a 23-ball half-century, which allowed their middle-order batsmen in Laurie Evans and David Wiese to take their time to settle down before going big. Carey scored 61 off 30 deliveries, and Laurie Evan contributed with an unbeaten 45-run knock coming in just 34 deliveries.
Philip Salt, LJ Wright, Laurie Evans, Delray Rawlins, D Wiese, Ben Brown, Chris Jordan, Ollie Robinson, Will Beer, Danny Briggs, R Topley.
Currently sitting at the second spot in the South Group points table, Gloucestershire will not be feeling comfortable at all. They have Kent Spitfires, Somerset, and Middlesex Panthers, breathing right down their neck, who all are itching to secure a place amongst the top-four sides of the group. They are currently in the middle of a crucial significant encounter against Kent Spitfires wherein a win would do a world of good for them.
In their match against the Spitfires till the time of writing, Gloucestershire looked pretty good in defence of their 180-run total with Kent needing 124 more runs in the last 12.5 overs with eight wickets remaining. With the bat, it was Gloucestershire's skipper Michael Klinger, who wreaked havoc with the bat as he scored a superb century to take his team to a towering total.
Gloucestershire have been in incredible form of late and came into their match against the Spitfires with the weight of five consecutive wins behind them. Both their batsmen and bowlers have been in terrific form in the last few games and with a chance to grab the quarter-final spot, they are sure to come out all guns blazing in their all-important match against Sussex Sharks.
M Klinger, MAH Hammond, JR Bracey, IA Cockbain, Ryan Higgins, JW Taylor, GLV Buuren, AJ Tye, Tom Smith, DA Payne, Josh Shaw.
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The top of the table clashes are often pretty exciting, and we expect nothing different from this one as well. While Gloucestershire have everything to play for in this upcoming match, the Sharks will be pretty relaxed and taking this match as an opportunity to prepare for their quarter-final match. Although the two teams are placed next to each other at the ladder, there's a massive difference in how these two teams have performed in the competition. Also, the Sharks are a better-balanced side as compared to Gloucestershire, albeit only a little. For the reasons mentioned above, we think that the Sharks are better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture and end their league stage campaign on a happy note.
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