Surrey v Somerset – Natwest T20 Blast at 18:30 live on Sky Sports 2
The South Group is starting to heat up as we head into the final third of the Natwest T20 Blast group stage. Surrey and Somerset are placed just outside the top 4 zone needed to qualify for the quarter-finals, on 8 and 7 points respectively. With runaway group leaders Gloucestershire on 15 points and second-placed Glamorgan on 13 – the Welsh side also have one game in hand – Surrey and Somerset are realistically playing for third or fourth place. Defeat here for either side, in particular Somerset, means elimination is all but confirmed.
London should be bathed in late evening sunshine for this floodlit T20 fixture. Temperatures should be in the late teens with a slim 10% chance of showers.
The Oval is traditionally one of the best batting tracks on the county circuit – however, proceed with caution – three of the last six scores have been way below par. Here is a list of recent scores made by sides batting first at Surrey’s HQ –
2016 – 117, 173, 188, 93 – Average 143
2015 – 208, 105, 154, 231, 169, 240 – Average 185
Surrey have batted first in every match in this year so data galore –
2016 – 151, 117, 110, 173, 186, 188, 205, 93, 170 – Average 154
2015 – 208, 146, 169, 205 – Average 182
Somerset are not a big bat first side in comparison to the hosts –
2016 – 167, 158, 197 – Average 174
2015 – 197, 174, 159 – Average 176
Gareth Batty’s Surrey team come into this match after a run of three T20 defeats. Jason Roy should play here after returning from England duty in Wednesday’s defeat to Gloucestershire and makes up a formidable opening partnership with Finch (below) 20 year-old Dominic Sibley has scored well in his debut season – 67, 74*, 32 – impressive numbers. Fellow youngster Rory Burns has struggled though, managing just 56 runs in 7 knocks in this year’s Blast. Curran brothers Sam and Tom are two of the games exciting young all-rounders and have shared 16 wickets and scored 409 runs between them with near identical averages. Zaf Ansari is on England watch with winter tours to Asia coming up; an average of 21 with the bat 28 with the ball is nothing more than OK. South African Chris Morris is one of the IPL’s richest players and play his second game for Surrey here. Jade Dernbach has returned from injury and took 0-32 on his comeback game on Wednesday.
Jim Allenby leads a Somerset side that in truth is struggling to qualify. Chris Gayle has returned to play for Jamaica in the CPL so former Sri Lankan star Mahela Jayawardene is the one remaining world-class batsman in the ranks. 7 innings have only bought a top score of 51 and an average of 28.1 Allenby himself has managed 198 runs in his 9 knocks, 91 of which came during an early season defeat to Kent. There have been contributions from Johann Myburgh (159 runs @ 26.5), Roloef van der Merwe (176 @ 88) and all-rounder Lewis Gregory (150 @ 30) but the truth is Somerset haven’t had a batsman really go on and make match-winning scores. Jamie Overton has taken 6 wickets more than any other seamer and can be happy with his 13 wickets at 22 apiece. Tim Groenewald and Yasir Arafat have combined for a paltry 5 wickets in the 32 overs they’ve bowled between them, perhaps more worrying are their respective economy rates of 10.5 and 10.9. Leg-spin from Max Waller has stood up with a best of 4/33 helping him strike 9 victims to date.
It’s a sign of Surrey’s pulling power that they lose a player of Kumar Sangakarra’s stature to the Caribbean Premier League, yet replace him with a player as good as Aaron Finch. The former Australian T20 skipper is a star turn in this format. He’s started well for his new side after a quiet ODI series for Australia in the West Indies in which he managed a top score of just 72 in 6 innings. A career T20 average of 34 and a SR of 133 is one of the best around.
Peter Trego is all but a specialist batsman nowadays in T20 cricket and he’s had a decent 2016 Blast. His SR of 166 is exceptional and an average of 25.3 in his 9 innings is impressive given there isn’t a single red-inker to boost up his average. 63 from 33 last night showed he is in fine fettle and for a time it looked like he might give his Somerset side an unlikely victory in their ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of 187. Trego has hit 10 sixes in this year’s competition.
If Surrey bat first, I recommend taking any OVER RUNS around the 155-157 mark.
If Somerset bat first, I recommend taking any UNDER RUNS around the 155-157 mark.
Top Batsman Market
It is hard to see the visitors taking early wickets but Jason Roy and Aaron Finch are tough to separate – both can be backed at 3.50 and offer little value. Let us take a punt on big hitting Chris Morris doing some damage at 11.0 for Surrey though.
Peter Trego looks the best of Somerset’s top order at 5.0 but Roloef van der Merwe is an outrageous 21.0 with one online bookie to top score for the away side.
Prices correct at time of writing.
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