Sussex Sharks v Essex Eagles
The 1st Central County Ground, Hove
Monday 14 September
The Essex Eagles travel to the 1st Central County Ground on Monday to face Sussex Sharks in the Vitality Blast, with the fixture set to commence at 2pm.
The Eagles were left still seeking their first win in the competition after they suffered defeat to Surrey by 4 wickets at The Cloudfm County Ground on Friday night.
Cameron Delport and Adam Wheater became the first players to post half-centuries in the competition for the Eagles this season combining for a first wicket partnership of 105 to lay the foundations of a total of 195-8 in a thrilling clash.
However, Surrey responded to the challenging target despite losing South African Test player Hashim Amla to the first ball of the innings and then finding themselves 59-3 just before the end of their powerplay. But Laurie Evans, with 88 not out, and Gus Atkinson, who struck the winning runs off the final scheduled delivery of the match, saw Surrey to victory.
Cameron Delport top-scored for the Eagles hitting 64 from 32 balls with 3 sixes and 8 fours and admitted that it was frustrating to end on the losing side.
He said: “We are very disappointed with the result and the boys are hurting in the changing room. I think unfortunately we were about 20 runs short and we lost a few quick wickets at one stage.
“Personally, it was nice for me to get some runs, it’s been coming for a while so that was good.
“We’ve got to bounce back, we’ve got some big games coming up next week but it’s obviously getting tougher and tougher for us to qualify for the next stage, but it is what it is.”
The Eagles have no new injury concerns and will select their starting XI from a 16-man squad that includes 21-year-old fast bowler Jack Plom and 22-year-old batsman Michael Pepper.
Plom made his T20 debut for the Eagles on Friday whilst Pepper made his first appearance in the format since 2018.
The Sharks beat Kent Spitfires by 8 wickets on Saturday to go top of the South Group with 9 points, 1 more than Surrey and Kent Spitfires, who dropped to third place.
Their squad includes two former Essex players, all-rounder Ravi Bopara and fast bowler Tymal Mills. Mills has made 5 T20 International appearances and also represented England Lions, and is one of the fastest bowlers to play for Essex. He joined Sussex in 2014 but following the diagnosis of a degenerative back problem, he now concentrates on T20 cricket.
Bopara became a cult figure at Essex and, after making his debut in 2002, recorded 19,620 runs and 503 wickets for the Club across all formats until leaving at the end of last season. He has 13 Test caps for England, made 120 ODI appearances and played in 38 T20I matches.
Although Sussex and Essex are at opposite ends of the table, Sharks skipper Luke Wright is not under-estimating the threat the Eagles pose.
He commented: “They are one of those teams where things have not quite gone their way in T20 this season.
“I think they’ve had a tie and a couple of games that have gone down to the wire and they have lost off the last ball, so they have not been far away.
“They are certainly not a team to be taken lightly, they won it last year so there are a lot of good cricketers in there but at the moment, they’ve just got the wrong side of results.”
Sussex Sharks Squad
Luke Wright (C), Will Beer, Ravi Bopara, Danny Briggs, Ben Brown (WK), George Garton, Calum MacLeod, Stuart Meaker, Tymal Mills, Delray Rawlins, Ollie Robinson, Aaron Thomason, David Wiese.
Record Between The Sides
The two teams have met 26 times in T20 fixtures of which The Sharks have won 14 contests and The Eagles 12.