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183/8 in 20.09.15
184/5 in 19.39.44
Toss Winner - Somerset won the toss and chose to bowl first
Somerset beat Sussex by 5 wickets
Sussex Sharks take on Somerset in their first match of the season
Somerset to win
Tournament: VITALITY T20 BLAST 2023 | Format: T20 | Venue: County Ground, Hove, England | Toss: To BatBet Now
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Sussex are all set to face Somerset in their season opener at the Country Ground in Hove. After a poor season last year where they finished at number 7 in the South Group with 4 wins from 14 matches, Sharks will be eyeing a winning start to their campaign this season.
Somerset, who were beaten by Hampshire in the semi-final, have kicked off this season with a huge win over the defending champions. The average 1st innings score in the last 7 matches at the County Ground, Hove is 168 runs. Spinners are the top picks among the bowlers who found success at this venue.
They have been economical even in the high-scoring games. Shadab Khan will be a key player with his all-round abilities for the home team while the pace attack of Somerset consisting of Matt Henry, Craig Overton, and Peter Siddle will be lethal.
Sussex Sharks have made some major changes to their squad this season. And they will be hoping to turn things around after a poor campaign last year.
Sussex have let go of Rizwan, their top scorer in the last season, and brought in all-rounder Shadab Khan. Another big miss for Sharks is Rashid Khan, who was exceptional with his leg-break, especially at this venue.
Khan is out and in comes Nathan McAndrew, a promising pacer from Australia. There will be no Jofra Archer in the Sharks’ camp as the pacer picked up another injury during IPL and is now ruled out of the Blast.
Sharks tried many opening combinations last year. Along with Rizwan, Josh Phillippe is also out of the squad and hence, we will be looking at a new opening pair again.
Ali Orr and Harrison Ward are the most likely candidates for the opening duo followed by Tom Aslop and Ravi Bopara at 3 and 4. In the lower middle order, we reckon Sussex would play Shadab Khan and batting all-rounder George Garton.
It looks like a pretty decent batting lineup with plenty of talent. All they need is to find their rhythm early on. They will be up against one of the strongest bowling attacks in the T20 Blast. Ollie Robinson, Nathan McAndrew, and Tymal Mills are the frontline bowlers in this Sussex setup who seem quite promising.
Ali Orr, Harrison Ward, Top Aslop (wk), Ravi Bopara (c), Shadab Khan, George Garton, Delray Rawlins, Ollie Robinson, Tymal Mills, Steven Finn, Archie Lenham
James Coles, Ravi Bopara, Michael Burgess, Tymal Mills, Fynn Hudson Prentice, Ali Orr, George Garton, Shadab Khan, Tom Clark, Nathan McAndrew, Tom Alsop
Lewis Gregory will be a happy captain after his team kicked off their campaign with a win over the defending champions, Hampshire Hawks. The bowlers were all over the opposition after Somerset opted to bowl.
Craig Overton finished with figures of 3 for 8 in his 4 Overs as Somerset bowled out Hampshire for just 74 runs. A quick-fire 40 off 24 balls from Tom Banton helped Somerset chase the target in just 57 balls.
The last time Somerset played Sussex was at Taunton where the latter posted a 200+ total and defended it successfully. That was the only win at an away venue for Sussex Sharks that season.
Nevertheless, Somerset are coming in hot with a brilliant win at home and they will be playing at a venue where the Sharks have struggled mostly. Tom Banton will be crucial in getting Somerset off to a good start.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore is known for his big-hitting abilities and he will be expected to make an impact at number 3. Will Smeed also makes the top order look even stronger as he opens alongside Banton.
The middle order is also solid-looking with Tom Abel at number 4 and it goes deep with all-rounders till number 8. Somerset will have the upperhand coming here as they’ve got a balanced overall side with in-form players.
Will Smeed, Tom Banton (wk), Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Tom Abell, Tom Lammonby, Lewis Gregory (c), Ben Green, Roelof van der Merwe, Craig Overton, Matt Henry, Peter Siddle
Tom Lammonby, Matt Henry, Peter Siddle, Tom Kohler Cadmore, Ben Green, Lewis Gregory, Thomas Abell, Craig Overton, RE Van Der Merwe, Will Smeed, Tom Banton
It looks like a balanced pitch with help for both batters and bowlers. It is not a typically high-scoring surface but allows for stroke making if the batters time it well. Spinners can enjoy bowling here as seen in the last season. The weather forecast is for a clear day with a high of 17 degrees Celsius in Hove.
The County Ground in Hove, the home ground of Sussex Sharks will host its first game of the season. The average 1st innings score in all the domestic T20s played on this ground is 168 runs. We reckon a match-winning total at this venue will be something over 180 runs.
Teams batting first have won 4 of the last 7 matches on this ground. Only twice did a team successfully chase a 160+ total in these outings. With the kind of bowling attack in both teams, they would back themselves to defend a decent score on this ground.
Sussex Sharks look strong on paper as they did last season. The few changes to their squad are also quite promising and if these players tick the right boxes, Sharks can go a long way in the tournament. The visitors have the momentum from their recent win and will pose a tough challenge with the ball. This match will be exciting given the bowling strength of both teams.
Given the current form and Sharks’ performances at their home, the visiting Somerset will start with a slight edge in this contest.
Somerset to win
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