After poor starts to the Natwest t20 Blast, Sussex and Surrey hold the bottom two places in the South Group, and both will want to get a win to kick-start their campaigns. With just three wins between them in 2015, it’s been an unconvincing start for the two potentially explosive sides. The two sides will no doubt be looking to take inspiration from Essex, who a week ago sat in Surrey’s position – bottom of the table with one win from five – and now hold joint first in the South Group.
The Sharks remain eighth in the group after Friday’s seven wicket loss to Essex, with Mahela Jayawardene scoring a half-century in an otherwise despondent effort from the side’s batting line-up. Sussex’s two wins in this format have both been narrow victories, with five and six run wins over Somerset and Gloucestershire respectively, which indicates that the home side’s batting has left a lot to be desired this season. It will be important for the Sharks to build a solid innings if they are to have any chance of winning this game.
Surrey, meanwhile, sit at the foot of the table and have struggled so far this season after appearing at back-to-back Finals Days. A third consecutive trip to Edgbaston this year is currently looking a long way off, and the away side will be looking to rectify that with a win. Their last outing resulted in a six wicket defeat to Essex Eagles, with Kumar Sangakkara’s 58 not enough to help Surrey set a winning total.
Sussex were on the end of a mauling the last time these two sides met, when unbeaten half-centuries from Hashim Amla and Jason Roy led Surrey to a ten wicket win. With neither player to feature this time out, and neither side impressing so far this season, this game is set to be a much tighter clash.
It will be up to the Sussex bowlers to restrict Surrey and give their struggling batting line-up more freedom to score runs. Currently joint top of the Sharks’ wicket-takers with six, Oliver Robinson will be crucial to that effort. Opening the bowling, he’ll be looking to restrict from the very start with early key wickets to hamper Surrey’s efforts. His economy rate of 8.94, however, will be something of a concern for Sussex, and he’ll need wickets to counter that.
Big runs will be the key for Surrey here, and Zafar Ansari will play a crucial role in that effort. Batting in the middle order, the 23-year old has 137 runs so far this season at the same average, and boasts a strike rate of nearly 200. He’s not only able to build from any platforms set for him, but can get an innings going and he could prove to be a thorn in Sussex’s side.
Chris Jordan continues to be absent through England duty, while Ajmal Shahzad could return for Sussex after missing Friday’s game through injury. Surrey have Kevin Pietersen returning to the side for their trip to Arundel, while Jason Roy remains with England and Steven Davies will miss out with a hand injury.
Sussex squad: TBC
Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (c), Gary Wilson (wk), Zafar Ansari, James Burke, Rory Burns, Tom Curran, Matthew Dunn, Ben Foakes, Moises Henriques, Aneesh Kapil, Azhar Mahmood, Kevin Pietersen
Weather and conditions
Despite overcast conditions and a slight chance of light showers later in the afternoon, the weather at Arundel should hold for a full game with temperatures reaching 19⁰.
Date: 14th May 2015
Ground: Arundel Castle
Umpires: Jeremy Lloyds and Alex Wharf
Odds (Betfair): Sussex 1/14, Surrey 1/14