Hampshire v Essex Eagles
The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
Wednesday 16 September
The Essex Eagles continue their Vitality Blast campaign with a trip to The Ageas Bowl on Wednesday afternoon where they meet Hampshire starting at 2pm with the game being played behind closed doors.
Neither side has set the T20 season alight thus far and the Eagles first win of the season on Monday at Hove against the Sussex Sharks was their first win in this year’s tournament.
That success lifted the defending champions above Hampshire in the group table to leave the South Coast team propping up the South Group.
With three group matches still to play, the Eagles start Wednesday’s fixture with 4 points and six adrift of leaders Surrey who have 10 points from their seven matches.
Dan Lawrence starred with bat and ball for the Eagles at Hove with an inspirational performance that played a key part in lifting the Eagles off the foot of the table.
The 23 year-old scored 81 from 44 balls with 12 boundaries that included 6 sixes and then claimed two wickets in his only over that accounted for the Sharks top-scorers Aaron Thomason and Delray Rawlins.
“It was good to get the win because we know we’re a better side than the table shows,” he said. “So, it was good to get a win on the board against a good side like Sussex.
“From a personal point of view, I was delighted with the way I played. It was nice to be back in the runs because I’ve had a bit of a lean trot with the bat this year in Twenty20 cricket.
“I think we’ve played on a couple of challenging wickets and I’ve played a couple of average shots so it’s been a bit of a mix but it was nice to get up the order and bat at number three and get in and have a go in the first six overs.
“I felt frustrated not to go on and get a hundred but it felt good to be back in the runs and I just hope this win is the start of better things to come before the Twenty20 season is over.”
Essex will select their starting XI from a 14-man squad with Michael Pepper continuing to deputise behind the stumps for Adam Wheater who is unavailable due to family reasons. Aaron Beard picked up a niggle before the match with Sussex and will not make the journey to Southampton.
Hampshire suffered their 5th defeat in seven Vitality Blast matches on Monday when they were trounced by 8 wickets in their fixture with Kent Spitfires.
First Eleven manager Adrian Birrell issued a rallying call to his troops saying: “We have got to turn things around, show character and win the next one.
“We’ve got to turn performances into wins and every game gives us the opportunity to do that.”
James Vince, Brad Wheal, Tom Alsop, Ian Holland, James Fuller, Lewis McManus, Sam Northeast, Felix Organ, Calvin Harrison, Ajeet Dale, Joe Weatherley, Mason Crane, Ryan Stevenson, Chris Wood, Shaheen Afridi.
Record between the two sides
The two teams have met on 32 occasions in T20 fixtures of which The Eagles have won 12 matches and their opponents thirteen. Three matches have been tied whilst the weather concluded 4 matches prematurely with a ‘no result’ and two matches abandoned.