Vitality Blast Match Preview – Glamorgan v Surrey

Vitality Blast Match Preview – Glamorgan v Surrey

Surrey reached finals day last year and given the strength of their squad, will be hopeful to do the same again in this year’s competition. They will have been disappointed with their heavy loss to Hampshire in their last Championship outing, but gained prompt revenge in their first Blast game, winning by five wickets at Southampton.

The loss of Jamie Overton will be a blow and he is out along with Ben Foakes. However they are strengthened by the return of Tom Curran, who has recovered from the knee injury he suffered in the BBL. He has not played since the beginning of January, but starred with both bat and ball against Hampshire. Surrey have also had to name a temporary captain while Chris Jordan is in the West Indies and they have gone with Ollie Pope. They have brought in Australian quick Spencer Johnson for the first eight games, following which they will hope to have their World Cup players back. Jason Roy and Laurie Evans played a second team game last week, the latter scoring 116 not out off 65 balls and they will both come in to reinforce the batting. They have plenty of pace options, with spin provided by Dan Lawrence and Cameron Steel. All-in-all, it’s a pretty complete package.

Meanwhile Glamorgan will be looking to get out of the group stages for the first time since 2017, when they went on to lose to the Bears in the semi-final. They made a good start to the competition last year, but then suffered injuries to a number of their batters and lost eight of their last nine matches. They lost twice to Surrey, Laurie Evans scoring 118 not out from 60 balls in Cardiff, assisted by 66 off 29 balls from Sam Curran. In the return game at the Oval, Surrey again posted a 200 plus total, runs from Will Jacks (69), Evans (40), Sunil Narine (36) and Sam Curran (59). The good news for Glamorgan is that Jacks, Narine and Sam Curran will be nearly 5000 miles away.

Glamorgan’s two overseas players for this competition are Marnus Labuschagne and Colin Ingram, who along with Sam Northeast, Kiran Carlson and Chris Cooke have the ability to score plenty of runs. The bowling looks far less threatening and they will find it difficult to take enough wickets to keep opposition batters in check. Jamie McIlroy’s left arm seam was their most effective weapon last year, but he has only taken three Championship wickets so far this year. The bowling is all very medium pace, with James Harris the only one to regularly reach the 80+ mph mark, although he is not noted for his T20 bowling, conceding runs at 9.35 per over and he did not play in the competition last year. Dan Douthwaite, a hard hitting all rounder, can be a threat with the ball but has struggled with consistency and much will rest on Timm van der Gugten, who took a fifer in the last Championship game, having returned from injury. They have the leg spin of Mason Crane, on loan from Hampshire and Ben Kellaway could come in to provide an off spin option.

Players from most counties have been playing in second team games to help prepare, but we have not seen any of the Glamorgan players in action and they will be going into this game cold. Surrey will start as strong favourites, particularly having had the run out against Hampshire. Pitches at Sophia Gardens are notoriously low and slow and there would be no incentive for the home side to want any pace in the pitch given the make up of Surrey’s bowling attack.

Key players

If Glamorgan are going to compete in this game they are going to need some big performances and there are no bigger players in their team than Marnus Labuschagne. He is a live wire in the field and has always been keen to further his T20 credentials. We may also see him twirl his arm over if some extra spin is needed. 

Dan Lawrence‘s move from Essex seems to have been a successful one, contributing with both bat and ball at his new county. He has plenty of T20 franchise experience around the world and he and Steel will be looking to tie batters down in the middle overs. He has now played 115 T20 matches in which he has scored 2555 runs at a healthy strike rate of 142.65 and an average of 26.34. He will certainly want to go one step further than he did with Essex, losing in last year’s final.

Team news:

With Harris rested, the bowling will be under pressure. Andy Gorvin may join McIlroy, van der Gugten and Douthwaite as seam options, while they could rely on the part time spin of Carlson, Labuschagne and Ingram alongside Crane.

Glamorgan squad: Kiran Carlson (c), Tom Bevan, Eddie Byrom, Chris Cooke (wk), Mason Crane, Dan Douthwaite, Andy Gorvin,  Colin Ingram, Ben Kellaway, Marnus Labuschagne, Jamie McIlroy, Sam Northeast, Harry Podmore, Will Smale, Timm van der Gugten

Despite the long list of absentees, Surrey will still field a strong team.

Surrey squad (probable): Ollie Pope (c), Sean Abbott, Sean Gus Atkinson, Rory Burns, Jordan Clark, Tom Curran, Laurie Evans, Spencer Johnson, Dan Lawrence, Jason Roy, Dom Sibley, Jamie Smith (wk), Cam Steel, Dan Worrall

Weather and Conditions

While there may be a few showers in the afternoon before the game, the forecast is for fine weather.

I do not expect to see much pace in the pitch and bowlers will need to bowl to their field, with short straight boundaries and long ones square of the wicket.

Date: 31st May 2024

Time: 18:30

Ground: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff


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