Gloucestershire meet Somerset for the third time this season when the local rivals clash in the RLODC at Bristol on Sunday. So far honours are even, with both sides having won one T20 game.
The home county will approach this tie in buoyant mood as so far this season they are unbeaten in the 50 over competition. An abandoned game at Yorkshire was followed by two remarkable wins: at home to Derbyshire and away at Leicester. Both games went to the last ball of the match with Gloucestershire the winners on each occasion. This puts them on five points in fourth place in Group A.
In the last game at Grace Road they totalled 315/6 largely due to a century by wicket-keeper Gareth Roderick and 87 from veteran Geraint Jones. Leicestershire failed to meet their target by one run.
Somerset have not fared as well as their neighbours. In their three games, all at Taunton, they have lost two, to Durham and Derbyshire. However, their most recent game ended in a victory against Worcestershire. In this game Somerset scored 305/7, the major contribution coming from Tom Cooper with 93. When the visitors batted they could only muster 249, Craig Overton, Matthew Leach and Peter Trego taking three wickets each. This win leaves Somerset in sixth place with two points.
All-rounder Benny Howell is in his fourth season for Gloucestershire having started his career with Hampshire. In this time he has become a valuable member of both the red and white ball sides. He is capable of scoring quick runs in the middle order and, with his right-arm medium pace, both imposing control through consistent accuracy and taking vital wickets. This season he is averaging in the high twenties with the bat in both the Championship and the T20 and has taken 30 wickets in both these competitions. But he is the sort of cricketer about whom statistics don’t tell the whole story; his value is his ability to chip in with useful contributions when they are most needed.
Australian Tom Cooper is prospering for Somerset in the 50 over format rather more than he has done in the Championship or T20 this season. In addition to his most recent 93 against Worcestershire he hit 104 in the RLODC game against Durham. Cooper’s success in the domestic 50 over format is unsurprising considering his record in List A cricket and ODIs for the Netherlands (for whom he had elected to play due to his mother’s Dutch nationality). Indeed he is averaging nearly 50 in his 23 ODI appearances.
Gloucestershire have no injury concerns to report so it is unlikely that they will make any changes from the team that has won the last two matches.
Gloucestershire squad: Michael Klinger (c), Chris Dent, Gareth Roderick (wk), Benny Howell, Geraint Jones, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Jack Taylor, James Fuller, Craig Miles, Tom Smith, David Payne, Will Tavare, Liam Norwell.
Somerset have recalled all -rounder Alex Barrow to their squad in place of wicket-keeper Michael Bates.
Somerset squad: Jim Allenby (c), Tom Abell, Alex Barrow (wk), Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory, Tim Groenewald, James Hildreth, Adam Hose, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Peter Trego and Max Waller.
Weather and conditions: The forecast for Bristol is warm, dry and sunny.
Date: August 2nd 2015
Umpires: Paul Baldwin and Nigel Cowley
Odds: Gloucestershire 11/10, Somerset 8/11.