Sussex and Kent meet on the opening day of the 2018 Royal London One-Day Cup, just a few days after squaring off in the County Championship.
Victory in the red-ball format at Canterbury went to Kent, a win which nudged them up to second in the Division Two table – ahead of Sussex – having played a match fewer than their fellow South Coast side.
New Zealander Matt Henry was again star of the show in a low scoring match. He now has 37 wickets so far this season, the most in both divisions, and will be keen to continue that rich vein of form in the One-Day Cup.
Sussex captain Ben Brown described the Canterbury pitch as ‘disappointing’, but this time it’s Sussex who have home advantage as Kent head to Hove. Both will be looking for a significant improvement on their performances in this competition last season.
Kent won just one match and finished rock bottom of the South Group. Sussex fared slightly better, winning three games, but failed to progress through to the knockout stages. They finished fifth in the table and will be determined, under new coach Jason Gillespie, to do much better in 2018.
Both sides have star names missing from this clash as the IPL continues. Kent skipper Sam Billings remains in India with the Chennai Super Kings, while Sussex’s emerging superstar Jofra Archer is still in action with the Rajasthan Royals.
Laurie Evans hasn’t featured yet for Sussex this season but is set to come into the side for the white-ball formats. Evans was a standout player for the Sharks last season, averaging 57.80 in the One-Day Cup, and is a dangerous batsman in limited-overs cricket.
It’s been a slightly underwhelming start to the season for Daniel Bell-Drummond, in a Kent side that have relied heavily on their bowling attack. The opener has just the one half-century so far but was superb in this competition last season. He hit two hundreds and two fifties in the eight matches, posting an impressive average of 63.28, despite his side’s struggles in the competition.
Evans, Abi Sakande and Delray Rawlins could be in line for their first cricket of the season, while former captain Luke Wright remains a dangerous one-day player.
Sussex Squad: Ben Brown (c/wk), Danny Briggs, Michael Burgess, Laurie Evans, Harry Finch, George Garton, Delray Rawlins, Ollie Robinson, Abi Sakande, Phil Salt, Ishant Sharma, Luke Wells, David Wiese, Luke Wright
Joe Denly continues to lead the side in the absence of Billings, Harry Podmore could make his limited-overs debut for Kent.
Kent Squad: Joe Denly (c), Daniel Bell-Drummond, Alex Blake, Mitch Claydon, Zak Crawley, Sean Dickson, Calum Haggett, Matt Henry, Heino Kuhn, Harry Podmore, Imran Qayyum Adam Rouse (wk), Darren Stevens, Ivan Thomas
Weather and Conditions
The weather is set fair at Hove, with sunny skies and warm weather providing perfect conditions. It’s generally a decent batting track at Sussex and there’s no reason to expect anything different.
Date: 17th May 2018
Ground: 1st Central County Ground, Sussex
Odds (SkyBet): Sussex 4/5, Kent 1/1