About the Match
It was a real surprise when Hampshire did not qualify for the knockouts in 2016. Hampshire has been one of the most consistent teams in the tournament but failed to qualify for the knockouts for the first time last year since 2009. They'll now take on Sussex who lost their first game at County Ground Hove on 12th July 2017.
Sussex finished just one place shy of Surrey at 6th sport in 2016 despite the fact that they scored the quickest of all the teams in the competition. Their start to the tournament this year hasn't been particularly good as they lost to Glamorgan in their first match of the season.
Colin Ingram wrecked havoc on the Sussex's bowlers in spite of a promising start. Danny Briggs and Jofra Archer picked up their openers in successive over, but other bowlers failed to capitalize on the quick wickets. Will Beer proved to be extremely expensive as he was hammered for 44 runs in his three overs. Jordan and Wiese bowled well but went wicketless.
Luke Wright was a bright spot in their otherwise dark batting and he single-handedly almost guided them to a win. He scored 101 off 53 balls but got out in the penultimate overs. Other like Chris Nash and skipper Ross Taylor didn't look comfortable enough and failed to provide the much-needed impetus needed in the middle overs. Sussex have boosted their bowling lineup in this season and considering their already strong batting lineup, it could be tough to stop them once they get going.
The two times T20 Blast champions won the trophy last in 2012. Although their team grew stronger on paper, it did not reflect on the field. They were going through a rebuilding phase in the last year which led to their early exit from the tournament. This year, however, things have started happening positively for Hampshire.
In their first match against Glamorgan, bowlers did a tremendous job as they successfully defended a modest total of just over a 165 runs with considerable ease. Batting first, after losing the toss, Hampshire made 167 runs a brisk fifty from Lewis McManus. He was ably supported by George Bailey who scored 37 off 35 balls. Skipper James Vince contributed with a quick-fire 31 off 15 deliveries.
Reece Topley was the pick of their bowlers as he picked up three crucial wickets while going for a less than seven runs an over in his quota of four overs. Shahid Afridi did not allow Glamorgan to get going in the middle overs as he picked four wickets for 20. All in all, Hampshire has one of the most experienced players in T20 cricket and if they get going, even the best in the business might find it difficult against them.
Both the teams failed to qualify for the knockouts in 2016 and both are looking to register as many wins as possible before the competition gets more intense. Sussex have the class of Ross Taylor coupled with the style of Luke Wright, both of whom is excellent limited overs cricketers. Hampshire won its last match and will be the more confident bunch of the two. With form, experience and home advantage, Hamshire goes into the match as firm favorites.