Match Preview: Essex Eagles v Sussex Sharks


Essex Eagles v Sussex Sharks

Vitality Blast
The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford
Sunday 20 September
1pm start

The Essex Eagles are now unable to qualify for the knockout stages of this season’s Vitality Blast, following the defeat on Friday.

The Eagles lost by 4 wickets to the Kent Spitfires at Canterbury to leave them with just pride to play for when they meet Sussex Sharks at The Cloudfm County Ground on Sunday, with the match starting at 1pm.

When the teams clashed less than a week ago at Hove, the Eagles won by 12 runs in a match when Dan Lawrence took the plaudits.

He scored 81 from 44 balls that included 6 sixes and 6 other boundaries in the Eagles score of 197-5, before claiming the top two Sharks scorers, Aaron Thomason and Delray Rawlins at a personal cost of 3 runs in his only over. The home side ended on 185-8 from their 20 overs with Sam Cook taking 2 wickets in 3 balls towards the close of the innings.

McGrath’s View

Reflecting on the Eagles T20 campaign, Head Coach Anthony McGrath said: “Overall, we lacked the consistency you need in this format. At times there were some good batting performances, at times some good bowling performances, but we didn’t manage to combine the two in the same match.

“After last year’s success in the competition, we are naturally bitterly disappointed because we feel that we are a better side than the group table shows.

“It was only in the second half of the group matches that any of our batsmen managed to score a half-century, so that made things difficult.

“There were a couple of plus points we can take, some of the younger players came in and did well for us, players like Aron Nijjar, Jack Plom and Michael Pepper and they showed they can be a key part of our squad moving forward.

“Now we face Sussex Sharks who we beat recently so it would be nice to complete the double over them before we turn our attention back to red-ball cricket and the Bob Willis Trophy Final.”

Squad News

The Eagles will select their starting XI from a 14-man squad that includes Feroze Khushi, Ben Allison, and Will Buttleman, as well as 19-year-old Josh Rymell and 18-year-old Robin Das.

1000 x 1000 SQUAD

The Opposition

The match will see the return of Ravi Bopara to the Club that he served so well since making his debut back in 2002, until leaving at the end of last season.

During his time at Chelmsford, he scored 19,620 runs and took 503 wickets across all formats. He also made 13 Test appearances for England, plus 120 ODI appearances and also played in 38 T20I matches.

Sussex also include anther one-time Essex player, Tymal Mills, in their party although the bowler missed Friday’s win against Middlesex with a sore back.

Sussex all-rounder George Garton turned in a stunning display to help the Sharks overcome Middlesex last Friday and keep their hopes of a place in the last eight of the competition alive.

He took 4 wickets and then struck 24 from 9 balls to see his side to victory.

Garton said: “When I came in to bat it was a sticky situation so I tried to take the pressure off and have some fun. We knew we only needed one good over and fortunately, I had a swing and it came off.

“It was nice to get some wickets as well. I know what my role in the side is now, which is to try and bowl aggressively in the powerplay and today it paid off.

“We probably need to get something against Essex on Sunday to finish second but we won’t worry about the permutations. We will just go out there and back ourselves to win the game.”

Sussex Sharks Squad

Salt (WK), Wright (C), Rawlins, Wiese, Bopara, MacLeod, Thomason, Garton, Robinson, Briggs, Claydon, Brown, Carson, Meaker, Mills.

Record between the two sides

The sides have met 27 times in T20 fixtures, of which Sussex Sharks have won 14 contests and the Eagles 13.