Surrey head coach Michael Di Venuto is taking the positives out of his side’s defeat at Hampshire on Monday.
Despite a late fightback that saw Rikki Clarke finish with figures of 4-48, after Dean Elgar struck 91, Hampshire won by four wickets leaving Surrey winless from their opening two Royal London One-Day Cup matches.
But after being bowled out for 129 by Somerset in their opening match, Di Venuto thinks Surrey showed signs of improvement.
He said: “I thought we did very well to get ourselves back in the game, I was very impressed with the way the bowlers bounced back after an indifferent start with the ball.
“It’s not unusual for us to start slow in this competition so the last few years we’ve managed to scrape our way into the play-offs and play our best cricket up until the final. We’ve got to start putting our A-game together.”
Gloucestershire fall onto the other end of the spectrum having won their first two games against Glamorgan and Essex, although they have beaten Surrey just once in List A cricket since 2009 — in the 2015 final.
They have lost the toss and batted second in both of this season’s victories, chasing targets of 265 and 288, and head coach Richard Dawson is content with doing that again.
“There have been some big scores and it’s about holding your nerve,” he said. “240 isn’t an average score anymore and the totals we’ve seen are ones that teams expect to both set and be able to chase.”
“They are usually decent wickets and if it’s dry at the Oval there is bounce, and sometimes turn as well. What you must do is keep the stumps in play, otherwise you become free to hit.”
Jason Roy returns from the IPL having scored an unbeaten 91 in his first appearance but just 29 in his following four innings. He may not be in good form but Roy is not the type of player who will let a run of low scores impact his game too much. Roy has shown in the past that he thrives when he has something to prove, and a big score on his Surrey comeback would certainly help him overcome those IPL struggles.
Gloucestershire signed Chris Liddle before the 2016 season primarily for his white-ball bowling, and he has delivered so far in this competition. Despite playing just six matches and Gloucestershire not escaping the group, Liddle was last season’s second top wicket-taker in the One-Day Cup with 18 scalps. He’s claimed eight already this season and his left-arm pace could prove dangerous once again on Wednesday.
Surrey make just one change to their squad from their trip to Hampshire, adding Jason Roy — who has just returned from his IPL stint — to the 13 players named for that match. Will Jacks will likely make way for Roy at the top of the order.
Surrey squad: Rory Burns (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Gareth Batty, Scott Borthwick, Rikki Clarke, Sam Curran, Jade Dernbach, Dean Elgar, Will Jacks, Stuart Meaker, Ryan Patel, Ollie Pope, Jason Roy, Freddie Van Den Bergh
Craig Miles is included in the 14-man squad for his added height, which could be of use at The Oval. Gloucestershire have fielded the same team in both matches so far, with Miles Hammond and Graeme van Buuren the other unused players.
Gloucestershire squad: Chris Dent (c), Gareth Roderick (wk), Ian Cockbain, George Hankins, Ryan Higgins, Benny Howell, Chris Liddle, Miles Hammond, Craig Miles, Tom Smith, Jack Taylor, Matthew Taylor, Graeme van Buuren, Daniel Worrall
Weather and conditions
With highs of 22, it will be a warm day in South London and, despite some cloud cover set for the afternoon, it should be a good day for batting on a pitch likely to be hard and dry.
Date: 23rd May 2018
Ground: The KIA Oval
Odds (SkyBet): Surrey 8/11, Gloucestershire 11/10