Gloucestershire won five of their games in what has been a successful competition for them. Indeed, the 50 over format has revived what had become a flagging season for the home county. The feature of their matches has been the thrilling last ball wins at Leicester and at home to Derbyshire, in addition to a narrow victory, with two balls to spare, against Somerset.
That said, their RLODC campaign stalled a little in the last two matches with defeats at Northampton and at home to Group A winners Surrey.
Hampshire won four games in the group stage. A comfortable win at home to Sussex was followed by a heavy defeat of Middlesex, both at the Ageas Bowl. Added to those home wins were a D/L determined win at Warwickshire and then the award of a victory in the infamous match at Cardiff by virtue of a dangerous pitch.
Gloucestershire’s contributions from key players have been rather more impressive in the competition so far than those of the visitors. Four of their batters, Michael Klinger, Benny Howell, Gareth Roderick and Geraint Jones have scored more than 250 runs. However only two Hampshire batsmen have reached the same mark: Liam Dawson and Jimmy Adams.
As far as the bowlers are concerned, the picture is the same. Four Gloucestershire bowlers: Craig Miles, James Fuller, Benny Howell and David Payne have grabbed ten wickets or more. Using the same benchmark, only Liam Dawson and young leg-spinner Mason Crane have reached the same level for Hampshire.
Gloucestershire will draw confidence from the 50 over game at Bristol last season when they beat Hampshire by 35 runs in a low- scoring contest to reach the quarter final stage only to lose to Kent. For Hampshire victory at Nevil Road will mean progression beyond the group stage for the first time, and a chance of success in both white ball competitions as they compete in T20 Finals Day on Saturday.
Both men to watch are all- rounders who have been in excellent form in the 50 over format this season.
Benny Howell has had an impressive competition, scoring nearly 300 runs and taking 10 wickets with his accurate medium pace. Ironically Howell, who holds both UK and Australian passports (his mother is an Aussie and his parents live in Australia), is a product of the Hampshire academy. He was released by the South Coast county in 2011 but has found a successful home at Bristol where he recently signed a new contract to keep him with the county until the end of 2017.
Liam Dawson too has an outstanding return from this summer’s RLODC campaign. He has scored 303 runs at an average of 75 and taken 14 wickets at a little over 20 apiece with his slow left- arm spinners. A former England Under 19 captain, Dawson became Hampshire’s youngest ever centurion when he scored three figures at Trent Bridge in 2008.
Dawson, who like Gloucestershire’s Craig Miles is from Swindon, starred in the county’s recent 50 over win at Edgbaston when he scored 67 and took 3/34. He too is contracted to stay with Hampshire until the end of 2017.
Gloucestershire welcome back their two senior batsmen: Michael Klinger and Hamish Marshall. Klinger, who last week sined a new two- year deal with the county, has not played since an injury sustained in the group stage game against Durham. Marshall has not yet played in the competition this season due to a calf injury. However, young seamer Craig Miles is out through injury. The Gloucestershire squad is:
Chris Dent, Will Tavare, Michael Klinger, Hamish Marshall, Gareth Roderick (w), Geraint Jones (c), Benny Howell, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Jack Taylor, James Fuller, Tom Smith, David Payne, Liam Norwell.
Hampshire have named a 14-man squad with Mason Crane, Joe Gatting and Gareth Berg added to the eleven who played against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last week. The squad is:
Michael Carberry, Jimmy Adams, Adam Wheater (w), James Vince (c), Liam Dawson, Sean Ervine, Will Smith, Joe Gatting, Gareth Berg, Chris Wood, Yasir Arafat, Danny Briggs, Mason Crane, Fidel Edwards.
Weather and conditions:
The forecast for Bristol is for drier weather than has been experienced in recent days. However, there is some possibility of disruption due to showers later in the day.
Date: August 26th. 2015
Ground: Nevil Road, Bristol
Odds: Gloucestershire Win 6/5, Hampshire Win 8/13