As we head into the final round of t20 Blast group matches, both Surrey and Sussex are likely to remain in their current qualification positions. Other results are crucial to change either side’s situation, but the away side’s fate lies first and foremost in their own hands, while for the hosts, in all likelihood, even a win won’t ensure progression to the quarter-finals.
In fact, little short of a miracle is necessary for Surrey to achieve qualification. Heading into their final seven games, Surrey’s chances were quite slim. After four wins from their next five games, things were looking much more positive and a quarter-final spot was well within reach. Their 43 run defeat at the hands of Middlesex on Thursday means that not only will they need to win by a considerable margin – their net run rate took a huge blow in the 43 run defeat to Middlesex in their penultimate game – but need both Gloucestershire and Kent to win their final matches. In all likelihood, any chance Surrey had of reaching the quarter-finals fell away on Thursday night.
The visitors, however, have had a much more solid season, and currently sit in third place. Two losses in their last three have prevented them earning an early spot in the knockout stages, but for the Sharks, things are much easier. A win guarantees qualification as well as a home quarter-final, while defeat will only mean elimination if both Essex and Glamorgan win. While it would be presumptive to suggest that Sussex are guaranteed a place in the next round, it’s difficult to see everything going against them at the final hurdle.
Jason Roy may be Surrey’s second top run scorer in this year’s Blast with 273, but having only reached double figures four times from ten innings, it’s safe to say that this hasn’t been his best campaign. However, it was only last week that he hit a t20 best of 122* in his side’s victory over Somerset. The hosts will be looking for more of the same from Roy at the top of the order if they want to beat the Sharks.
For Sussex, opening batsman Luke Wright has been in fine form this year. With 564 runs this campaign, Wright is the third leading run-scorer in the competition. He comes into this game off the back of an unbeaten 92 two games ago, while boasting two half-centuries from this week’s County Championship match. If he gets off to a good start, the Sharks will be set well on their way to victory.
Surrey squad: TBA
Sussex squad: TBA
Weather and conditions
Weather warnings have been issued for much of southern England, and with heavy rain sweeping across the capital, it’s unlikely any play will be seen. Abandonment would result in both sides remaining in their respective qualification situations.
Date: 24th July 2015
Ground: The Kia Oval
Umpires: Rob Bailey, David Millns, Ben Debenham
Odds (SkyBet): Surrey 8/11, Sussex 11/10