The South Group of the T20 Blast is a congested affair as these two sides play ahead of Friday night’s final round of group matches. Second is only separated from seventh by 3 points in the South Group, meaning that qualification for the quarter-finals will go don to the wire.
First up, the visitors are out of contention for a knockout spot having picked up just nine points from their 12 matches. With no hope of qualifying for the next stage, Somerset will simply be playing for pride and perhaps in some ways will be looking to make amends for a disappointing few weeks in the four-day game too.
Last time out in the T20, Somerset were on the wrong end of an embarrassing defeat to Surrey, as Jason Roy plundered an unbeaten hundred with Surrey only losing one wicket in their innings. Though James Hildreth made a valiant fifty, Somerset were never really in the chase, and fell 38 runs short.
Hampshire meanwhile are very much in the hunt for a top four position. This is Hampshire’s final group game, and with the other eight sides all playing on Friday evening, it could mean a nervous wait. Whilst the permutations are unsurprisingly complex, put simply, if Hampshire win here then they would be extremely unlucky to miss out on the top four. An interesting subplot to keep track of is Hampshire’s net run rate; the south coast side may take this into consideration to help with their qualification hopes.
Hampshire are heading into this match on the back of a hard-fought win against Sussex at Hove. Ninety from Jams Vince and three wickets from Chris Wood helped the side to post a total of 204 and then narrowly defend it.
These two sides met at Taunton back in June, as a Chris Gayle-inspired Somerset chased down 167 with two overs to spare.
Hampshire captain James Vince has been in the runs recently with a composed 90* to guide his side to a score in excess of 200 at Hove last week. With victory critical to his sides qualification hopes, he will need to lead from the front and take the attack to the Somerset bowlers.
Evergreen Somerset seamer Alfonso Thomas never seems to tire of running through opposition batting line-ups, particularly in the shortest format. His 15 wickets in this yeas competition is almost double that of Somerset’s next best bowler. His nous and variations will be key if the Cidermen are to contain Hampshire’s potentially explosive top order.
Hampshire squad: Michael Carberry, James Vince (c), Adam Wheater, Owais Shah, Joe Gatting, Jimmy Adams, Sean Terry, Will Smith, Gareth Berg, Chris Wood, Yasir Arafat, Danny Briggs, Jackson Bird, Mason Crane
Somerset squad: Tom Abell, Jim Allenby (c), Michael Bates (wk), Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory, James Hildreth, Adam Hose, Jack Leach, Johann Myburgh, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Peter Trego and Max Waller
Weather and conditions: Whilst it looks set to be an overcast evening on the south coast, it appears as though the rain will hold off, and it will be a comfortable 20°.
Date: 23rd July 2015
Venue: Ageas Bowl, Southampton
Odds: Hampshire 4/7 Somerset 11/8