Somerset go into their game with Sussex on Friday buoyed by a first Championship win of the season. On home turf, and at the batting paradise that is Taunton, they will be hopeful of getting their T20 Blast campaign off to a winning start.
However, Sussex will be pleased to have edged a narrow game with Gloucestershire in their second match of this year’s T20 Blast. Will Beer lived up to his undoubted promise in the shortest form of the game and the experience and ability of Mahela Jayawardene will anchor the Sussex innings. Added to the fact that Oliver Robinson is increasingly looking an emerging talent with the ball, the Sussex team this year is looking an exciting one.
With Chris Gayle still in India, Somerset perhaps lack an out and out match winner but with the vast T20 batting experience of Marcus Trescothick, James Hildreth, Peter Trego and Tom Cooper they will be confident of scoring a big total. Alfonso Thomas, who has played for the county since 2008, will spearhead their bowling attack.
With Craig Kieswetter seemingly out for the season, there will be pressure on Jim Allenby to inject urgency into the Somerset innings. Allenby, who memorably hit 64 in Leicestershire’s win in the 2006 t20 final, signed from Glamorgan in the summer, and should prove a useful addition to the Somerset side with both bat and ball.
On a flat pitch, Sussex will look to Will Beer’s leg-spin to take wickets and halt Somerset’s impetus. Beer bowled well in Sussex’s last game taking 2-26 off his four overs including the wicket of the dangerous Hamish Marshall. He also contributed some useful middle order runs scoring 22* at two runs a ball, something which proved crucial in a narrow game and was deservedly named Man of the Match.
With Chris Gayle playing in the IPL and not due back until 29th May, Sohail Tanveer will join Abdur Rehman as Somerset’s overseas options. Tanveer should cause the Sussex batsmen problems with his unusual action. Max Waller, who has gained something of a reputation as a T20 specialist over the course of his career, is also in the squad and may well make his first competitive appearance for Somerset this season. Alfonso Thomas will captain the side.
Sussex will be unlikely to make too many changes to the side that beat Gloucestershire last week. Matt Hobden has though been added to the squad to give them an additional pace option. Lewis Hatchett, Matt Prior, Ajmal Shahzad, Ashar Zaidi and Jimmy Anyon all remain out injured.
Somerset squad: Jim Allenby, Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory, James Hildreth, Johann Myburgh, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Abdur Rehman, Peter Trego, Sohail Tanveer, Alfonso Thomas (c), Marcus Trescothick, Max Waller.
Sussex squad: Will Beer, Ben Brown (wkt), Craig Cachopa, Harry Finch, Matthew Hobden, Mahela Jayawardene, Chris Liddle, Matt Machan, Tymal Mills, Chris Nash, Steffan Piolet, Oliver Robinson, Luke Wright (c), Michael Yardy.
Weather and conditions: It is forecast to be dry at Taunton for Friday’s game but there may well be cloud overhead.
Date: 22nd May
Ground: County Ground, Taunton
Umpires: Nigel Cowley & Martin Saggers
Odds (SkyBet): Somerset 8/11, Sussex 11/10