Sussex Sharks v Hampshire – Natwest T20 Blast live on Sky Sports 2

The Scene

Sussex entertain Hampshire at Hove on Friday night in the South Group. Hampshire travel to the south coast after playing on Thursday night at home to second placed Glamorgan, but this preview will go out before that match. Barring injuries, it won’t impact on this matches influence on the South Group – Hampshire have been hopeless and are out – P10 W1 L7 NR2 – a terrible return for a side who have won this event twice and made the semi-finals on four occasions in the past six years. Sussex are fighting it out with Essex, Surrey, Kent and Middlesex for positions 3 and 4 in order to make the quarter-finals. They will expect a win here.

Conditions

Sunshine and temperatures in the late teens expected in Hove – exactly what the tournament organisers hoped for when scheduling these matches for Friday nights. There should be a full house enjoying the fine conditions.

Vital Statistics

Sussex tend to split their games between picturesque Arundel and the County Ground, Hove. Here’s a list of first innings scores made at Hove in the T20 blast over the past three years –

2016 222, 205, 140, 146 – Average 178

2015 – 165, 204, 165, 136, 140, 221, 167 – Average 171

2014 – 151, 149, 107, 189, 177, 171 – Average 157

Here are the scores Sussex have managed whilst batting first in the past two years –

2016 – 222, 242 – Average 232

2015 – 165, 164, 136, 141, 140, 175, 167 – Average 155

Hampshire went bat first crazy last year so we have plenty of data to look at –

2016 – 135, 133, 141, 158 – Average 141

2015 – 115, 196, 143, 204, 116, 186, 157, 199, 167, 172, 148, 172, 173 – Average 165

Teams

Luke Wright leads a Sussex team that surprisingly fell in a heap in their last T20 match. Chasing 159 away at Glamorgan, they were skittled out for 113. Still, Wright and opening partner Chris Nash have had solid campaigns – the skipper has made 232 runs with a best of 83 whilst Nash’s highlight was a century earlier in the season in front of Sky’s cameras. Scottish middle-order biffer Matt Machan has played well alongside Taylor (below) with a season average of 38.4 and a SR of 156. The bowling has been the most impressive part of Sussex’s year with left-arm quick Tymal Mills giving the hurry up to many a batsman. Mills has bowled regularly over 90mph and has contributed 11 wickets at an economy of sub 8 per over. Chris Jordan is now an experienced England international and has chipped in with 62 runs and 7 wickets in his 6 matches. Sri Lankan Nuwan Kulasekera has a best of 4/28 and taken 7 wickets in just 3 matches whilst spinners Danny Briggs and Will Beer have combined to take 11 victims. Quick runs at the top, fine form in the middle and wickets throughout the innings – Sussex really should qualify for the knockout stages.

As indicated below in the star player section, no Hampshire batsman has scored more than 157 runs in this year’s Blast. James Vince has been away with England for the majority and will miss out here as he’s on Test match duty. Michael Carberry, a gun T20 bat for Hampshire over the years is also missing – he’s had a reoccurrence of a nasty illness meaning he’s been undergoing tests at hospital in recent days – we wish him well. 20-year-old Tom Alsop has only scored 17 runs in his 3 knocks whilst skipper Sean Ervine has also struggled. 56 of his 80 runs came in one innings, an average of 10 is simply terrible. Pakistan legend Shahid Afridi might have put a few bums on seats but has he earnt his inflated salary? 128 runs with a highest score of 35 and 7 wickets in 8 matches is nothing more than OK. Ex-Worcestershire man Gareth Andrew has also taken 8 victims at 18.5 apiece whilst West Indian Tino Best has limped along to take just 4 wickets in his 8 matches.  

Star Players

Ross Taylor has done everything expected of a big name overseas star. Fourth in the overall Blast run scorers list, the dynamic New Zealand has managed 324 runs in his 8 Sussex innings this season. A high of 93*, he’s passed 50 on three separate occasions and has hit 15 sixes on his way to a SR of 139.

Liam Dawson has been a rare shining light during a terrible Blast campaign. His 9 wickets have come at an economy rate of just 6.7 per over whilst his 157 runs are the most any Hampshire batsman has made all year. His consistent displays rewarded him with a T20 cap versus Sri Lanka in which he took 3/27. Dawson comes into this match having made a century against Worcestershire in the county championship.

Runs Markets

If Sussex bat first, I recommend backing any OVER RUNS around the 163-165 mark.

If Hampshire bat first, I recommend backing any UNDER RUNS around the 163-165 mark.

Top Batsman Market

Luke Wright loves the Sky cameras and given the form he is in along with the weak bowling attack he will be facing, there is no need to not consider him as Sussex’s top run grabber at 3.75

Sean Ervine is in poor touch but should be considered as top Hampshire bat at 11.0 – there’s very little else on show from the visitors.

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @herefordrich.

Eastbridge now fully licensed in the UK!

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