Two of the form teams in this year’s Blast meet in Cardiff
Glamorgan have been one of the surprises so far in the Blast, winning four out of five games, their only defeat being to Somerset, who are the only team still with a 100% record.
Glamorgan’s success has been based around the impressive batting form of their two older statesmen, Colin Ingram and Chris Cooke, who have 263 and 252 runs respectively in the competition so far. Together they put on an undefeated 187 against Middlesex and 109 when Glamorgan chased down 190 against Kent.
Glamorgan have had to contend with a number of injury problems, particularly to captain David Lloyd (hamstring) and to Timm van der Gugten (side strain), who has been their main wicket taker in the Championship. Tom Bevan returned to second team cricket this week following a shoulder injury and Ruaidhri Smith appears to have overcome an infected finger. However, Eddie Byrom was struck on the hip by Tymal Mills in the Sussex game and is not fit for this match. In the same game, Kiran Carlson dislocated a finger and it will be hoped this is not a more serious problem. Michael Neser has now been lost to the Australian squad and the hard pressed bowling resources have been bolstered by the recruitment of leg-spinner, Peter Hatzoglou. He has had mixed success, but bowled key spells in the wins against Middlesex and Kent. Left arm seamer, Jamie McIlory has been the most consistent bowler, taking on the tough overs at the start and end of the innings.
Surrey had a strong start to this year’s competition, with comfortable wins against Middlesex and Kent before going down to Sussex. They also lost to Gloucestershire, in a low scoring encounter and now have four wins from six games. Their batting has been inconsistent, with a heavy reliance on all rounders. Jason Roy has not yet played having strained a calf muscle when warming up for the first match. Will Jacks is the top run scorer with 192 at a strike rate of 151.18 and he is also contributing with the ball, taking 8 wickets with an economy rate of 7.36. They have an abundance of bowling talent, bolstered by the inclusion of Sunil Narine. Chris Jordan has taken over the captaincy from Sam Curran, following his return from the IPL.
It looks to be a contest between Glamorgan’s batters and Surrey’s bowlers. Surrey have the star names, but Glamorgan are putting a run of good performances together and this should be a close contest.
Dan Douthwaite is the only Glamorgan player so far with a contract for the Hundred and will be looking to put a marker down. With the runs being scored above him in the order, he has not had much opportunity with the bat, but with the relative scarcity of bowling resources he has been turned to more with the ball and has taken the most wickets (10), albeit at a higher run-rate than he would wish. This game is likely to need Glamorgan to dig deeper and could be the opportunity for him to kick-start his season with the bat.
Sunil Narine is the archetypal cricketer of the modern age having turned his back on red ball cricket, touring the world playing in franchise competitions. He is an exponent of the art of “mystery spin” and has not disappointed the Surrey fans so far this season, having taken 10 wickets and only conceded 6.2 runs per over. He has been batting down the order in this Surrey team, but he has often been seen in a pinch-hitter role. Glamorgan will need to decide whether to bat out his overs or risk taking the attack to him.
Glamorgan’s squad has been hit hard by injuries and they will be hoping for some good fortune on that front. Zain Ul-Hassan opened the batting when Byron had to drop out in the Championship game against Sussex and is preferred to Bevan, despite him scoring 70 off 50 balls opening in a second team T20 this week. Ul-Hassan does provide an extra seam option.
Glamorgan squad: Kiran Carlson (c), Chris Cooke (wk), Dan Douthwaite, Andy Gorvin, Peter Hatzoglou, Colin Ingram, Jamie McIlroy, Sam Northeast, Billy Root, Prem Sisodiya, Ruaidhri Smith, Callum Taylor, Zain Ul-Hassan
The only significant absence is Roy. Surrey have a huge depth in bowling resources, but are perhaps lacking in specialist T20 batters.
Surrey squad (probable): Chris Jordan (c), Sean Abbott, Gus Atkinson, Jordan Clark, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Laurie Evans, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Tom Lawes, Dan Moriarty, Sunil Narine, Jamie Overton, Jamie Smith, Cam Steel, Dan Worrall
Weather and Conditions
There are no issues with the weather, temperatures expected to be around 20°C for the start of the game.
Some grass left on the pitch for the last match produced an excellent playing surface, but we wait to see if this is reproduced or we are back to the low, slow Cardiff pitches.
Date: 7th June 2023
Ground: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Odds (SkyBet): Glamorgan 13/8; Surrey 4/9