Match Preview - Gloucestershire v Glamorgan
18 July 2019
Gloucestershire will face Glamorgan in their opening game of the Vitality Blast in front of a sold-out crowd at the Fergal O’Brien Cheltenham Cricket Festival.
The side head into the T20 competition off the back of an incredible last over victory against Leicestershire in the Specsavers County Championship. The Cheltenham College Ground was treated to an enthralling display on both sides of the ball: Chris Dent (125), Jack Taylor (99), Tom Smith (84) and Benny Howell (76) all scoring well; Higgins taking seven wickets, Matt Taylor picking up five more.
The T20 team will be boosted by the arrivals of overseas signings Michael Klinger and Andrew Tye. 39-year-old Klinger, who will captain the side, embarks on his seventh and final season with Gloucestershire. The Aussie batsman warmed up for the Blast with 49 off 42 balls for the Gloucestershire Second XI against Somerset at Rockhampton on Wednesday.
Head Coach Richard Dawson notes how important the Australian contingent will be to Gloucestershire’s success:
“Michael rejoins us fresh mentally and physically after the off-season back home and will be as important as ever to our chances of success,” he said. “Andrew Tye has been over here for a while playing for Australia A, so he is also fit and raring to go.”
Gloucestershire’s already small squad has been reduced further by the hand injury suffered by Ben Charlesworth in practice last weekend. But one player sure to come into the side is Ian Cockbain, who smashed 45 and 91 in the matches at Rockhampton, the latter score off just 53 balls, with 12 fours and two sixes.
With other proven big-hitters in Klinger, Ryan Higgins, Benny Howell and Jack Taylor, Dawson believes Gloucestershire have the firepower to beat any team in the Blast on their day.
Howell and left-arm spinner Tom Smith have proved adept at taking pace off the ball and stifling opposing batsmen in mid-innings, while Tye has the ability to rank among the best death bowlers in the competition.
“Other counties have the resources to make changes from their Championship line-ups, but we have to rely on many of the same players,” Dawson said of his smaller squad.
“What we do have is a team of experienced T20 players, who know their roles. Games tend to be decided on fine lines and we need to be winning tight contests. We have match-winners in our side, but we can’t rely on individuals and will need to play well as a team over the coming weeks.”
Gloucestershire's 14-man squad for tomorrow:
Klinger, Hammond, Cockbain, Bracey, Higgins, J Taylor, Howell, Tye, Smith, Payne, M Taylor, Liddle, van Buuren, Dent.
Glamorgan head into the game having played Somerset today in their T20 opener. They enter the competition in high spirits with just one defeat in the Championship and designs on promotion.
Glamorgan will have to do without Pakistani batsman Fakhar Zaman who has not yet been cleared to play and Mitch Marsh who joins the team later in the competition.