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Vitality Blast Preview: Sussex Sharks v Somerset

THE MATCH

Somerset take on Sussex Sharks at the 1st Central County Ground in the Vitality Blast tomorrow (Friday).

Play will get underway at 7pm.

HOW CAN I KEEP UP TO DATE?

You can keep up to date using our dedicated Match Centre via this website and on our Twitter feed.

In addition to this, a report on the day’s play along with quotes will be posted on this website.

HEAD TO HEAD

The two sides have met 13 times in T20 cricket. Somerset have won four of those games, Sussex have won seven times, there was one no result and one match was abandoned.

The highest team total in the series for Somerset is 177 for four at Taunton in 2011, while for Sussex it is 222 for three at Hove in 2016.

The highest individual innings for Somerset is 87 not out by Marcus Trescothick at Taunton in 2011, while for Sussex it is 112 not out by Chris Nash at Hove in 2016.

The best bowling for Somerset is five for 31 by Dirk Nannes at Arundel in 2014, while for Sussex it is five for 18 by Ollie Rayner at Hove in 2011.

The last time that the two sides met at Hove was in 2018 and it was Somerset who came out on top by three wickets.

After being put in by the visitors, Sussex lost Phil Salt and Luke Wright early on but 96 from 67 balls from Laurie Evans ensured that the hosts reached 169 for five from their 20 overs. Max Waller claimed two for 24.

Set 170 to win, Somerset reached their target for the loss of seven wickets with three balls to spare. Roelof van der Merwe top scored with 34 not out from just 19 balls. Tom Abell (30 from 21) and Johann Myburgh (29 from 17) were also in good form.

TEAM NEWS

Somerset are still without Roelof van der Merwe who has a side strain.

The Club have named the following squad for this match: Lewis Gregory, Tom Abell, Tom Banton, Eddie Byrom, Josh Davey, Marchant de Lange, Lewis Goldsworthy, Ben Green, James Hildreth, Tom Lammonby, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Will Smeed and Max Waller.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Ahead of the match, Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “There are no easy games in this competition and anyone can beat anyone on their day.  Sussex are a strong side, but we are taking some confidence into the game following our performance against Kent.

“We showed a lot of character and resolve on Tuesday and it was much more of a complete team performance. There are still things that we need to work on, but we now have some momentum as we head to Hove.”

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

For more information please visit the official Sussex CCC website.

THE OPPOSITION

SUSSEX SHARKS

Coach: James Kirtley

Captain: Luke Wright

Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists

2020 Leading Run Scorer: David Wiese (281 @ 40.14)

2020 Leading Wicket Taker: George Garton (14 @ 16.5)

Overseas players: Rashid Khan (available from June 27), David Wiese (available for whole tournament), Travis Head (available for whole tournament).

Key man: Rashid Khan – The Afghanistan leg-spinner is back for his third season, having taken 24 wickets in 20 games. With Danny Briggs gone, his control and wicket-taking potential will be vital.

Flies under the radar: George Garton – He was outstanding in 2020 with 14 wickets and the best economy rate of Sussex’s seamers. He took 20 off a Steve Finn over to beat Middlesex and underline his batting potential.

Best Player Under 24: Delray Rawlins – The all-rounder is an explosive batsman who scores quickly anywhere in the top five while his left-arm spin could be handy, especially on used, dry pitches.

Blast expectations: Sussex look to have all bases covered and it will be a big surprise if the 2018 finalists don’t at least get to the knockout stages. Even at 36, skipper Luke Wright still has a lot to offer and commands enviable resources, even without Jofra Archer and with Chris Jordan’s appearances likely to be limited by England commitments. The mercurially talented Rashid Khan can be relied on to win a game or two on his own, Travis Head will bring runs and big-match experience and Ravi Bopara is too good a player not to improve on a disappointing 2020. It’s hard to see many opportunities for the youngsters Sussex have blooded in the Championship, although off-spinner Jack Carson might get his chance. Coach James Kirtley has promised a more analytical and innovative approach and it will be fascinating to see what this will mean.

NEXT MATCH

Somerset’s next match is on Saturday when we welcome Glamorgan to the Cooper Associates County Ground in the Vitality Blast.

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