Surrey emerged winners of Group A, winning more games than any other side in the competition, having lost only the one game at Somerset. They have batted first in every game this season, opting to set a total and put faith in their bowlers to defend it, and with six wins, it’s safe to suggest that tactic has been successful. Conversely, Kent have chased in all but one game this year, and though their record of three wins from six completed matches doesn’t scream consistency like Surrey, it’s got them to this stage. In all likelihood, Surrey will bat first no matter the result of the toss.
The home side have scored over 2000 runs this campaign, due to their strong batting line-up that features Jason Roy, Steven Davies and Kumar Sangakkara. Davies is currently the leading run-scorer in the competition, and he and Roy have four half-century partnerships this year, including an opening stand of 195 against Northants. Surrey have bowled their opponents out on five occasions, leading to a handful of comprehensive victories. The four pace bowlers have 48 wickets between them, while Gareth Batty and Zafar Ansari offer a good option when pace off the ball is needed, something that could be crucial at The Oval.
Kent have a batting line-up that features two exciting young talents – Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Billings. The pair have over 250 runs each this campaign at an average of 67, and the visitors will be looking to them to lead the way with the bat. Alex Blake could also be an important part of a Kent challenge, with a strike rate of 129, he’ll provide a useful cameo batting at seven if his side are in trouble.
17-year-old Sam Curran is still at Wellington College, but that isn’t stopping him from impressing the cricketing world with his all-round ability. A left-arm medium-fast bowler, Curran has 11 wickets from seven one-day games this season, bowls at speeds in the mid-80s and opens the bowling. In addition, he can provide useful contributions with the bat if necessary. He’s certainly one to look out for in the future, but for now, Surrey will be looking to him for early wickets to put Kent under pressure.
After missing out on a place at T20 Finals Day by virtue of losing more wickets, Kent skipper Sam Northeast will be looking to prevent another quarter-final exit for his side. Batting at three, he’ll want to lead from the front and get a score to prevent his lower order being left with pressure. He has only one half-century in this competition, a 74 that came in his side’s second game at Glamorgan. He comes into this match off the back of a 76 at Derbyshire in the Championship, and will be hoping for more of the same on Thursday.
Surrey welcome back Kumar Sangakkara as he returns from international duty, while Zafar Ansari is included in the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury. Gary Wilson misses out due to being with Ireland, and so Ben Foakes is expected to keep wicket.
Surrey squad: Gareth Batty (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Zafar Ansari, James Burke, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Steven Davies, Jade Dernbach, Matthew Dunn, Aneesh Kapil, Kumar Sangakkara, Jason Roy
Kent squad: Sam Northeast (c), Sam Billings (wk) Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly, Darren Stevens, Fabian Cowdrey, Alex Blake, Sean Dickson, Adam Ball, Matt Coles, James Tredwell, Ivan Thomas, Mitch Claydon, Matt Hunn
Weather and conditions
Some light showers are expected in the early morning, and that may cause a slightly delayed start, but the weather looks set to stay dry for the course of the match, with cloud cover throughout and temperatures of 19 degrees.
Date: 27th August 2015
Ground: The Kia Oval
Odds (SkyBet): Surrey 8/13, Kent 6/5