Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Hampshire v Warwickshire

Vitality County Championship Match Preview: Hampshire v Warwickshire

With two rounds and ten matches now behind us, it might be hoped that the 2024 top Division of the Vitality Championship would be taking shape.  The reality is, however, that only one of those ten matches has produced a definite result.  Try explaining that to your French or German friends.

For what it’s worth, Hampshire sit in eighth position in the table, with Warwickshire in second. But there are only eight points between them so this week’s clash at the Utilita Bowl in Southampton is likely to be keenly contested. Last year’s meeting of the two sides (also in Southampton) saw Chris Rushworth take 7-38 to give the visitors an innings win.  Such a one-sided contest looks unlikely this time round – and Rushworth is out injured.

Following a wash-out in their first game, Hampshire fought out a draw with Lancashire and they have selected the same squad for this game.  With the change from the Kookaburra to the Dukes ball, Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott and Mohammad Abbas will represent a challenge to the Warwickshire batters.

Warwickshire got slightly the worst of a draw with neighbours Worcestershire in their first game and then amassed a gigantic 698-3 against Durham, but couldn’t quite force a win.  

There should be a definite result to this match, given four fine days; but a wise gambler would probably save their money rather than risk a bet because the sides seem to be very evenly matched. 

Key Players

For Hampshire, South African Kyle Abbott has a formidable record as a fast-medium bowler.  He is just three short of 600 first-class wickets, taken at an average of 21.25.  He probably can’t wait to get his hand on a Dukes ball and show what he can do.

Warwickshire welcome back last year’s overseas player, Pakistan’s Hasan Ali.  He missed the first two matches of the season because he was with a Pakistan training squad.  He was a popular and successful import last year.  In just half a dozen matches for the Bears, he took 24 wickets at 21.58 and also scored a couple of half centuries.

Team News

Hampshire have named an unchanged 12 player squad.  Interestingly, they have kept Brad Wheal in the squad, even though he has been sent on loan to Glamorgan.  Hampshire have made it clear that they could call him back to play right up until the coin is tossed should he be needed.  If that happens, there will no doubt be a high speed drive (observing legal speed limits, of course) from Northampton where Glamorgan are playing, down to Southampton.

Hampshire squad: James Vince (c), Mohammad Abbas, Kyle Abbott, Ben Brwon, Liam Dawson, James Fuller, Nick Gubbins, Ian Holland, Fletcha Middleton, Ali Orr, Tom Prest, Brad Wheal

Warwickshire are without Chris Rushworth who pulled a calf muscle against Durham.  Michael Booth and Liam Norwell are also injured and Sam Hain has not played yet this season for personal reasons.  From their 13 person squad, Chris Benjamin and Che Simmons are likely to miss out.

Warwickshire squad: Alex Davies (c), Hasan Ali, Ed Barnard, Chris Benjamin, Jacob Bethell, Danny Briggs, Michael Burgess (wk), Ally Hannon-Dalby, Craig Miles, Dan Mousley, Will Rhodes, Che Simmons, Rob Yates

Weather and Conditions

The weather looks reasonably settled for the four days, with just the possibility of the odd shower.  Whilst there should be a decent pitch, the balance between bat and ball should shift markedly towards the bowlers compared with most matches so far this season.

Date: 19-22  April 2024

Time: 11.00 am

Ground: Utilita Bowl, Southampton

Odds (Skybet): Both teams 10/11


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