The Pears look to make it two out of two on Friday from 11am.
Glamorgan open their campaign at New Road, against a side who have already registered a win in the competition. Both counties are relative outsiders for the title, but with their squads relatively untouched following the Hundred draft, they have the opportunity to cause some upsets, as Glamorgan did when they won the trophy back in 2021.
Worcestershire go into this game on the back of a 42 run win against Durham. They have a bowling attack that has been able to deliver four wins in the Championship, two in their last two outings. It is led by the ever present Joe Leach, the 32-year-old having taken 41 wickets at 28.41 in the Championship. He will be ably backed up by Matthew Waite and Dillon Pennington, alongside the slow left arm spin of Josh Baker and Brett D’Oliveira’s leg spin.
Jake Libby has been the main run scorer in the Championship with 909 runs at 56.81 and while the other batters have been less productive they have a deep batting order that should be able to post winning scores in this competition, as they did against Durham, reaching 318/9. He is also taking on the captaincy role for this competition. They have been strengthened by the availability of Rob Jones, who has arrived on loan from Lancashire for the One-Day cup, prior to his full move at the end of the season.
At the beginning of the week, Glamorgan announced that David Harrison has replaced Mark Alleyne as coach for the One-Day cup. He has had this role over the last two years, while Matthew Maynard has been involved with the Welsh Fire. Alleyne came in at the end of last season as white ball coach, but now he has also joined up with the Hundred franchise and this leaves Glamorgan with three “head” coaches.
They are without their first choice keeper, Chris Cooke, giving an opportunity to the promising Alex Horton, who has played at England under 19 level. He has shown himself to be a competent batter in second XI cricket and will be keen to show he is ready to take over from Cooke when the time comes.
Eddie Byrom returns at the top of the order alongside Tom Bevan, both of whom have been sidelined with injuries for much of the season. Colin Ingram, Kiran Carlson and Sam Northeast will form a strong middle order with Billy Root also in the mix.
While the pace attack of Timm van der Gugten and Jamie McIlroy have had heavy workloads in the Championship, all the bowlers in the squad appear fit and there are a number of options available including Andrew Gorvin, James Harris, Harry Podmore and Ruaidhri Smith.
Prem Sisodiya will deliver some left arm spin and then it is a choice between the experience of Andrew Salter, who has had limited opportunities this season and young slow left armer, Rhodri Lewis, who has impressed in the second XI as well as for Bedfordshire National Counties and was included in Glamorgan’s last Championship squad.
In the absence of Dan Douthwaite, it will be difficult balancing the side, but a number of the bowlers have shown some prowess with the bat this season, in particular Timm van der Gugten who has 279 Championship runs at 34.87. If he bats at seven it allows for the selection of a stronger bowling attack.
The two teams met in the Championship back in May and on that occasion Glamorgan won by 10 wickets, thanks to match figures of 7/76 for van der Gugten and 86 runs from the bat of Michael Neser. This time around Worcestershire look favourites, particularly with them having had a successful run out already.
Experienced Pakistan batter Azhar Ali has had a disappointing Championship campaign for Worcestershire, with just 533 runs at 26.65. Given his first class average of 39.94 and a Test average of 42.26 from 97 starts, the Pears will be hoping he can find some better form during this competition. He looked fluent in making a brisk 41 off 36 balls in the opening game against Durham.
Kiran Carlson has been in fine form with the bat this season, having scored 888 runs at 52.23 in the Championship and 392 runs at a strike rate of 164.70 in the Blast. He captained the side to their One Day cup success in 2021 and with the departure of David Lloyd, looks set to take over the reins across all formats. At the age of 25 it might appear a lot to take on, but he seems to be embracing the challenge.
Ben Cox was favoured over Gareth Roderick with the gloves against Durham and made a valuable 57 not out. It is possible there will be some rotation of the bowlers and the inclusion of Adam Finch in the starting XI.
Worcestershire squad (probable): Jake Libby (c), Azhar Ali, Kashif Ali, Josh Baker, Ben Cox (wk), Brett D’Oliveira, Adam Finch, Ben Gibbon, Rob Jones, Joe Leach, Dillon Pennington, Ed Pollock, Gareth Roderick (wk), Matthew Waite
With all members of the squad seemingly available, Harrison has a couple of selection dilemmas, particularly around the balance of the side in the absence of a recognised all-rounder.
Glamorgan squad (from): Kiran Carlson (c), Tom Bevan, Eddie Byrom, Andy Gorvin, James Harris, Alex Horton (wk), Colin Ingram, Rhodri Lewis, Sam Northeast, Harry Podmore, Jamie McIlroy, Ben Morris, Billy Root, Andrew Salter, Prem Sisodiya, Ruaidhri Smith, Timm van der Gugten
Weather and Conditions
The weather is unsettled at the moment, with plenty of rain around this week. However there is the chance for a break in the wet weather and hopefully we will see the majority of the overs bowled.
The average first innings score at New Road in the One-Day cup last season was 324.5, so expect plenty of runs. The tendency was to choose to field first and with the possibility of some interruptions, that will be the likely choice of the captain winning the toss.
Date: 4th August 2023
Ground: New Road, Worcester