With the half way mark in this years Royal London One-Day Cup competition already passed, the pressure is on both Gloucestershire and Kent to win in this their fifth match of eight in the group stage.
The loser of this game will almost certainly have to wave goodbye to their chances of qualifying for the quarter-final stage as both have only won one match. Consequently, they occupy the bottom two places in the South group.
Gloucestershire return to the Brightside Ground, Bristol after successive defeats at Chelmsford and Southampton. Against Essex last week they lost by 29 runs chasing down an Essex total in which Alistair Cook hit 127.
However, at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday they were well beaten by Hampshire who won by seven wickets. These defeats followed an excellent win against Middlesex at Lord’s which featured an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 192 between Ian Cockbain (108) and Benny Howell (86) and a superb bowling performance by PCA cricketer of the month Liam Norwell, who took 5/36 in the Middlesex innings. Gloucestershire’s first game was a rain-affected defeat against Glamorgan at Nevil Road.
Kent will approach the Bristol game with more confidence following at 46-run win against Middlesex at Canterbury on Sunday. Chasing Kent’s modest victory target of 200, the visitors were bowled out for 156 with Wayne Parnell and Joe Denly each taking three wickets.
The Middlesex win followed defeats to Hampshire, Somerset and Sussex. However, Kent will draw confidence from the fact that they thrashed tomorrow’s hosts by 334 runs in the first Championship game of the season at Canterbury.
For Gloucestershire, Ian Cockbain is having a successful 50-over campaign with his unbeaten century at Lord’s as well as a 79 against Essex. The 30-year-old Lancastrian, in his seventh summer in the West, has emerged at a white ball specialist for the Nevil Road outfit. He has the ability to score quickly early in his innings with shots all round the wicket. Last season was a golden one for the popular Cockbain. Only his skipper, Michael Klinger and Glamorgan’s Colin Ingram scored more runs in the NatWest Blast T20.
According to former England coach Andy Flower, Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond could play for England this season. The 23-year-old Londoner has represented his country at all levels from under 15 to Lions, for whom he hit the headlines last season with a 367-run partnership with Ben Duckett against Sri Lanka A.
This season has seen Bell- Drummond in fine form in the Royal London One-Day Cup despite Kent’s poor record. Before his duck on Sunday he had hit two centuries, against Somerset and Sussex, and a half-century against Hampshire.
George Hankins has been added to the squad which has been named for the first four games.
Gloucestershire Squad: Michael Klinger (c), Phil Mustard (wk), Chris Dent, Graeme van Buuren, Ian Cockbain, George Hankins, Jack Taylor, Benny Howell, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Tom Smith, Liam Norwell, Chris Liddle, Matt Taylor, Craig Miles
Seamer James Harris returns to the Kent squad to travel west as his loan from Middlesex has been reactivated. He replaces Wayne Parnell. Adam Ball and Charlie Hartley are recalled to the squad as Mitch Claydon is unavailable following a family bereavement.
Kent Squad: Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly, Sam Northeast (c), Darren Stevens, Alex Blake, Sean Dickson, Adam Rouse (w), Calum Hagget, James Tredwell, Matt Coles, James Harris, Charlie Hartley, Adam Ball.
The forecast for Bristol is sunny and dry. Bristol pitches have generally had more pace and bounce this season so a high scoring game is a possibility.
Date: May 10th 2017
Time: 11.00 am
Ground: The Brightside Ground, Bristol
Umpires: Peter Hartley and Jeremy Lloyds.
Odds (SkyBet): Gloucestershire win 1/1. Kent win 4/5