Match Preview - Gloucestershire v Essex Eagles
2 August 2019
Gloucestershire play host to Essex in the first Vitality Blast match played at the Bristol County Ground in 2019.
After yet another match that went down to the wire yesterday evening at Glamorgan, Gloucestershire will be looking for their second victory in the competition which could potentially propel them into second place in the South group.
The Bristol based side have shown great mental toughness and a willingness to compete until the last ball in their last four matches. Their two completed Blast matches have both been decided in the final over – Gloucestershire beating Middlesex by two wickets with three balls remaining and the tie with Glamorgan decided on the final delivery.
Andrew Tye was the hero in the Glamorgan game, but Richard Dawson’s team have shown that there are several batsmen that can score quickly. Last night, Ian Cockbain made 40 off 33, Ryan Higgins 37 off 27, Michael Klinger 27 off 19 and Benny Howell 15 off 9 including a massively important maximum in the penultimate over. And against Middlesex, Miles Hammond was the player of the match with 63 off 35.
Benny Howell has taken seven wickets from the opening three Vitality Blast games. Of players who have only played three games, only Fidel Edwards of the Birmingham Bears has more with eight.
Gloucestershire’s 13-man squad for tonight's match:
Klinger, Hammond, Cockbain, Bracey, Higgins, J Taylor, Howell, Tye, Smith, van Buuren, Payne, G Hankins, Liddle.
Tonight’s match will be the first opportunity for supporters of Gloucestershire to see a Vitality Blast match this year and what better occasion with new street art, signage and other artworks having recently been installed.
The last three T20 fixtures between the two sides have been abandoned due to bad weather, the most recent of those coming just last week at Chelmsford.
Essex have only won one game so far in this year’s Vitality Blast, that being against Surrey at Chelmsford when they put up a massive score of 226/4.
They have lost both of their away games to Middlesex and Kent, however those two losses may have come against two of the stronger teams in the South group.
The Eagles only managed 133 in their last outing against Hampshire, the only notable partnership coming from their number two and three, Westley and Wheater who made 80 together in the middle. Gloucestershire struggled to break Glamorgan’s open partnership but if they can break through the Eagles’ top order batsmen early on, Essex could be in trouble.