NatWest T20 Blast Preview: Surrey vs Glamorgan

NatWest T20 Blast Preview: Surrey vs Glamorgan

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Having endured a poor start to the County Championship season following promotion, the hosts may well be pleased to get away from it all.

Surrey are a side full of promise – both in young exciting players and experienced names – but are yet to enjoy themselves this season. Despite their status, Division One has proved very difficult so far, with three draws and three defeats leaving them rock-bottom of the league.

The latest defeat – a three-day thrashing by Lancashire – underlined the weakness of Michael Di Venuto’s side as they picked up just three points against a side who have taken to the league much better.

But as we well know, T20 cricket is a different kettle of fish and Surrey will take confidence from their opening Blast fixture in which they held off Essex to win by eight runs. Veteran Azhar Mahmood was the star, taking 4-38 with the ball to go alongside his 42 runs with the bat.

They will take on a Glamorgan side who have yet to play in the shortest format this season and are experiencing a similarly dire start to the four-day campaign. Like their opponents, Glamorgan are bottom of their division, with three draws and three losses in the County Championship.

However, the Welsh side opened their 2015 T20 Blast season with the same fixture and will take confidence from that game, in which they posted a truly ridiculous, club-record total of 240-3 in a 25-run win.

Neither side made it out of the group stages last season and will obviously be looking to get off to a quick start this season in front of the Sky cameras.

Key men

On his day no-one is more effective – and better to watch – than Surrey’s Jason Roy. The England opener made a brisk 25 against Essex, including a trade mark glorious straight drive, before the all-too-often mode of dismissal struck as he spooned into the offside. Despite his inconsistencies, memories of his 122* from 65 balls against Somerset at the Oval last season, and his 141 career T20 strike-rate, remains a source of optimism for the home fans.

The away side’s batting line-up will rely heavily upon the fortunes of Jacques Rudolph. The experienced South African scored 461 runs in last season’s competition – the seventh-most of any batsman – and, at 35, is still a quality player at the top of the order. Rudolph, like the rest of his team mates, will have fond memories of the Oval where he smashed 62 to get the team off to a flying start last season.

Team news

Zafar Ansari returns to the Surrey squad after a thumb injury, but Rory Burns in unavailable after receiving a blow to the head while fielding at short leg against Lancashire in the County Championship. Overseas signing Dwayne Bravo is still away on IPL duty.

Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (captain), Gary Wilson (wkt), Zafar Ansari, James Burke, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Steven Davies, Ben Foakes, Azhar Mahmood, Stuart Meaker, Mathew Pillans, Jason Roy, Kumar Sangakkara, Dominic Sibley

Glamorgan have completed the signing of Dale Steyn, but unfortunately won’t be able to call upon him for their opening game of the season, as he’s still in India with the Gujarat Lions. However, Colin Ingram, who wacked 91 in last season’s fixture, is fit and raring to go.

Glamorgan squad TBC

Weather and conditions

The forecast, thankfully, is for dry and even sunny weather in south London, meaning the game underneath the flood lights should not be hampered by late spring rain.

The pitch meanwhile has always presented an opportunity for the batsmen with the aforementioned 465-run fest of last season testament to the road-like wicket. In fact, two of the three highest scores from last season were scored by away sides at the Oval.

However, there has been wet weather around recently and early-ish season conditions aren’t always conducive to batsmen launching the ball into the night sky at ease.

Date: 26th May 2016

Time: 6.30pm

Ground: The Kia Oval, London

Umpires: Nick Cook, Martin Saggers, Paul Baldwin

Odds: Surrey 8/15, Glamorgan 7/4

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