For a side looking to bounce back from an underwhelming white-ball campaign in 2016, and a side who won the Royal London One-Day Cup just two years ago, Hampshire and Gloucestershire have had poor starts this season.
Both teams have just one victory from three matches, and will know that whoever loses this affair face a tough task to reach the quarter-finals – defeat is either team’s third loss; no side has ever progressed with four.
Hampshire struggled in their last outing, their only home match so far, restricting Middlesex to 295 with Nick Gubbins making them toil in his 114, before Toby Roland-Jones ripped through the hosts’ top-order to claim an 89-run D/L victory.
Meanwhile Gloucestershire were subjected to Alastair Cook’s highest List A score in five years, with half-centuries from Phil Mustard and Ian Cockbain not enough to salvage a win.
Gloucestershire openers Chris Dent and Michael Klinger hit big hundreds (142 and 166* respectively) when these two sides met last June and despite four half-centuries, Hampshire fell ten runs short.
It has been eight years since Gloucestershire last played at Southampton – a three wicket defeat – with none of that team incumbent. That was Hampshire’s last victory; the visitors have won their last three meetings.
A win could see either team move into fourth in the South Group but more pressing is the need to kick-start their one-day season and build some confidence by the halfway stage of the group fixtures.
Tom Alsop started this campaign strongly with an unbeaten 112 against Kent but two subsequent scores of 12 were disappointing. He found himself omitted from Hampshire’s red-ball plans at the start of the season, only included through injury, but he missed just one game in last year’s One-Day Cup and averaged 54. He has a major role to play at the top of the order negotiating the most difficult period on a mostly lifeless pitch, and runs from him will put his side in a commanding position.
Chris Dent was Gloucestershire’s second top run scorer in this format last season but has begun 2017, having made double figures just once. His final innings before the start of this competition was a Specsavers County Championship century against Durham, to go with three fifties in five further first-class innings. Dent’s white-ball start may be worrying but the trip to The Ageas Bowl offers a chance to return to form.
Both sides remain unchanged from their last fixture, with the hosts still missing Rilee Rossouw, Fidel Edwards, Chris Wood and Brad Wheal. Gloucestershire have now named the same squad for all four of their One-Day Cup matches.
Hampshire squad: James Vince (c), Lewis McManus, Michael Carberry, Tom Alsop, George Bailey, Jimmy Adams, Liam Dawson, Sean Ervine, Gareth Berg, Kyle Abbott, Mason Crane, Reece Topley, Ian Holland.
Gloucestershire squad: Michael Klinger (c), Phil Mustard (wk), Chris Dent, Graeme van Buuren, Ian Cockbain, Jack Taylor, Benny Howell, Kieran Noema-Barnett, Tom Smith, Craig Miles, Liam Norwell, Chris Liddle, Matt Taylor
Weather and conditions
It is set to remain dry but overcast for much of the day, and with the new ball generally liable to plenty of movement at The Ageas Bowl, both sides could be under pressure early in their innings.
Date: 7th May 2017
Ground: The Ageas Bowl
Umpires: Steve Garratt and Alex Wharf
Odds (SkyBet): Hampshire 8/11, Gloucestershire 11/10