There is surely no better way to prepare for a T20 campaign than by lifting another white-ball trophy just six days prior.
But Hampshire will be hoping for a better start to the Vitality Blast than Nottinghamshire, who lost their first two matches last season after winning the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Hampshire cruised to victory in the One-Day Cup final at Lord’s on Saturday and have spent this week in a relaxed mood — the squad took the trophy out on the River Solent as part of a team-building exercise on Tuesday, before resuming training on Wednesday and Thursday.
They’ve lost Dale Steyn to South Africa’s Test squad but bring in the powerful Colin Munro and the impressive Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Having missed just one Finals Day since 2009, they remain a constant contender.
Glamorgan, meanwhile, have had a week of rest following their defeat in the Specsavers County Championship against Northamptonshire and will be refreshed ahead of a competition they need to succeed in.
They sit second-bottom of Division Two and after reaching Finals Day last summer — losing the semi-final to eventual runners-up Birmingham — they will be eager to build on that performance.
With a handful of international players — Kolpak captain Colin Ingram alongside Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja — complementing their core of Welsh talent, they could prove to be a very dangerous side.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman has quickly found himself centre stage in professional cricket, becoming the first male born in the 21st century to play international cricket aged just 16 and then, at 17, the youngest player to play in the IPL. Hampshire’s faith in him is very reasonable given his achievements thus far and he will debut in the Blast in perfect conditions. The Ageas Bowl pitch should take turn given the equatorial-like weather in recent weeks, and his off-spin and accompanying variations could utterly bewilder his opponents.
Aneurin Donald was dropped for Glamorgan’s three Championship matches in June after a poor start to the season, which saw him score just 214 runs in 16 innings across all formats. The 21-year-old is a thrilling prospect for those west of the Welsh border and it’s hard to imagine that he’ll spend too long out of form. A half-century in the second XI this week will boost his confidence and
Overseas signings Colin Munro and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are expected to make their Hampshire debuts. From Saturday’s win at Lord’s, Mujeeb replaces Mason Crane — who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a back injury —Munro will likely open and come into the side instead of Joe Weatherley, while Kyle Abbott will play after Dale Steyn completed his spell with the club.
Hampshire squad: James Vince (c), Lewis McManus (wk), Kyle Abbott, Tom Alsop, Gareth Berg, Liam Dawson, Sean Ervine, Colin Munro, Sam Northeast, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rilee Rossouw, Ryan Stevenson, Joe Weatherley, Chris Wood
Shaun Marsh returns for Glamorgan after Australia’s white-ball series against England. Fellow Australian Usman Khawaja, who provided cover in Marsh’s absence, remains on staff for the Blast. The Welsh side also welcome back David Lloyd, who missed the club’s last Championship match with a knee injury, and Craig Meschede, who could make his first appearance of the season after a calf injury.
Glamorgan squad: Colin Ingram (c), Chris Cooke (wk), Lukas Carey, Kiran Carlson, Aneurin Donald, Michael Hogan, Usman Khawaja, David Lloyd, Shaun Marsh, Craig Meschede, Andrew Salter, Ruaidhri Smith, Timm van der Gugten, Graham Wagg
Weather and Conditions
As Glenn Frey would say: the heat is on. The hot weather baking the country of late will continue as the temperature is set to remain in the mid-20s tomorrow evening even by the scheduled finish. As a result of the recent sunshine, spin should play a major role.
Date: 6th July 2018
Ground: The Ageas Bowl
Odds (SkyBet): Hampshire 4/6, Glamorgan 6/5