Glamorgan play their first home game of this year’s Blast against Essex, in front of the Sky cameras.
Essex won their first game against Kent, thanks to runs from Paul Walter and young Will Buttleman. Then, in the rather chaotic world that is the Blast schedule, Essex have four games in six days, the first of which was a bruising defeat to Somerset on Sunday, in which Marchant De Lange took 4/9 and then Will Smeed and Rilee Rousow scored a combined 125 runs at 212 runs/100 balls. They bounced back on Tuesday night with a comfortable eight wicket win against Hampshire, getting home with just over six overs to spare. Michael Pepper and Matt Critchley put on 100 for the third wicket, off just 45 balls. They have moved down to Cardiff for this game on Thursday, before playing Gloucestershire in Bristol on Friday. Daniel Sams has joined the ever present, Simon Harmer to make up the overseas duo for Essex, but he is yet to make an impact, taking just one wicket and conceding 115 runs from the 11 overs bowled and scoring 17 runs in two innings.
Glamorgan played their opening three matches in the South-East, starting with a win against Sussex, before defeats to Surrey and table-toppers, Middlesex. They have shown flashes of what they are capable of, but have been inconsistent with their batting, bowling and fielding. They will be hoping to improve in all three areas back in the familiar surroundings of Sophia Gardens.
These look to be two evenly matched teams so the hope is for an exciting contest.
South African off-spinner, Simon Harmer, has been at Essex since 2017, initially as a Kolpak player and more recently as an overseas. In that first season he helped them to the County Championship title and has been a regular match winner ever since. He took over 50 wickets in last year’s County Championship, earning him a recall to the South African Test side, over six years since his last appearance. He has played 126 T20 games and has an economy rate of just 7.55 runs/over. He also has the habit of scoring crucial runs and is the current T20 captain.
Another spinner, Prem Sisodiya has been a regular in the Glamorgan T20 side since he debuted back in 2019. The 23-year-old left armer has now played in 22 T20 matches, taking 21 wickets, with an economy rate of 7.62 runs/over. In recent seasons he has tended to open the bowling, often with his spin partner, Andrew Salter, but Glamorgan have moved away from that policy this campaign, instead opening with the pace of Michael Hogan and Michael Neser. It will be interesting to see if they revert to the spin option back in Cardiff.
Andrew Salter made his first T20 appearance of the season in the last game and will likely keep his place in Cardiff. Michael Hogan has played in all of Glamorgan’s games so far this season and it will be interesting to see if he can keep going, having turned 41 this week. Opening batter, Eddie Byrom, has been back in action following recent surgery and scored valuable runs in the two second XI games he has taken part in this week. He comes into the squad and may replace one of the all rounders in the team, as Glamorgan have plenty of bowling options.
Glamorgan squad: David Lloyd (c), Eddie Byrom, Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Joe Cooke, Dan Douthwaite, James Harris, Michael Hogan, Colin Ingram, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Sam Northeast, Andrew Salter, Prem Sisodiya, James Weighell
Essex have a number of players who are likely to remain unavailable, including Dan Lawrence, out with a hamstring injury. Jamie Porter is back from his successful outing for the County XI who beat New Zealand, but he has not been a recent regular in the Essex T20 side.
Essex squad: Simon Harmer (c), Ben Allison, Will Buttleman, Sam Cook, Matt Critchley, Aron Nijjar, Daniel Sams, Shane Snater, Michael Pepper, Adam Rossington, Jamal Richards, Paul Walter, Tom Westley
Weather and Conditions
The weather is set fair for Cardiff on Thursday evening.
The pitches at Glamorgan are not known for their pace. The straight boundaries are the shorter ones so bowlers aim to get batters hitting square of the wicket.
Date: 2nd June 2022
Time: 07:05 pm
Ground: Sophia Gardens
Odds (SkyBet): Glamorgan 11/10; Essex 4/6