The Essex Eagles are coming off two back-to-back losses.
Expect the Sussex Sharks to register a win.
The Essex Eagles have had a mixed start to their T20 Blast 2021 campaign so far. They are 5th in the South Group with 1 win from 3 matches. They have their task cut out as they face a strong Sussex Sharks in their next match. The Sharks have started well, winning both their games thus far, and are 3rd on the points table. Captain Luke Wright has got a solid squad and would love for his team to continue their great form.
The Essex Eagles started their 2021 season with a solid 3-wicket win against Somerset. However, they have suffered two back-to-back losses – against Hampshire and Glamorgan – and would need to pick up things fast. In their last match against Glamorgan, the Eagles could only post 153 on the board and the opposition chased it down with 7 wickets and one over in hand.
Essex badly needs their openers William Buttleman and Tom Westley to hit form this year. Michael Pepper is also going to be an important component of their middle-order and his form will be crucial. All-rounder Jimmy Neesham has already shown signs of good batting form down the order and he could be the man to watch out for again.
Captain Simon Harmer is the leader of the Essex bowling attack and he needs to get into rhythm real quick. Left-arm seamer Paul Walter and young right-armer Jack Plom add good depth to the bowling unit but how well they manage their form will be vital for the team’s success this season.
William Buttleman (wk), Tom Westley, Michael-Kyle Pepper, Feroze Khushi, Paul Walter, James Neesham, Simon Harmer (c), Jack Plom, Aron Nijjar, Samuel Cook, James Porter
Paul Walter, Aron Nijjar, Samuel Cook, RN ten Doeschate, Tom Westley, William Buttleman, Jack Plom, Simon Harmer, Michael Pepper, Jamie Porter, James Neesham
The Sussex Sharks couldn’t have asked for a better start to their 2021 campaign. They took down Gloucestershire and Hampshire in their first two matches convincingly and are looking dangerous. In their last match, they chased down a target of 155 against Hampshire in just 16.2 overs with 9 wickets in hand. Opener Philip Salt (72* off 44 balls) and Ravi Bopara (56* off 42 balls) were the stars of the chase for the Sharks.
Sussex indeed has a great batting unit this time. Opener Philip Salt already has two unbeaten 70+ scores in as many games. Ravi Bopara gives the team the much-needed experience at No.3. Then, there’s David Wiese who was the leading run-getter for the team last season with 281 runs at an average of 40.14. George Garton down the order too looks in good touch. If Luke Wright, who has split the webbing in his hand, can return to the fold soon, this team would look even more formidable.
On the bowling front, the Sharks have some serious firepower in George Garton – leading wicket-taker with 14 last year at 16.50 – and Tymal Mills (11 wickets at 22). Stand-in captain Chris Jordan is a wily operator and his form at the death will be crucial for the team.
Travis Head, Philip Salt (wk), Aaron Thomason, Ravi Bopara, David Wiese, Delray Rawlins, Chris Jordan (c), George Garton, Will Beer, Archie Lenham, Tymal Mills
Luke Wright, RS Bopara, Tymal Mills, Delray Rawlins, George Garton, Will Beer, Chris Jordan, TM Head, Phil Salt, D Wiese, Archie Lenham
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||18||0 mm.||4.01 k/h||From: N||100%|
|03h||16||0 mm.||3.32 k/h||From: N||100%|
|06h||14||0 mm.||3.61 k/h||From: N||100%|
|09h||16||0 mm.||2.66 k/h||From: NNE||98%|
|12h||20||0 mm.||1 k/h||From: NNE||94%|
|15h||21||0 mm.||2.25 k/h||From: ESE||42%|
|18h||17||0 mm.||4.28 k/h||From: ESE||40%|
|21h||12||0 mm.||3.11 k/h||From: SE||30%|
The County Ground in Chelmsford is like a traditional English surface. It isn’t a batting paradise but the surface remains true for the most part. The seamers will get some movement early on and spinners will get purchase in the middle phase. Medium-pacers have generally gone for runs here and that’s who the batsmen can target.
The weather at Chelmsford on the day of the match will be partly cloudy. However, there are no chances of rain.
The average score by the team batting first at the County Ground in Chelmsford last season was 163, coming down from 193 in 2019 and 175 in 2018. So it will be interesting to see how the itch behaves this season. The team batting first should target a score of around 170-180 runs to feel safe.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat second as chasing has yielded better results in this venue.
In the last 5 matches between the Essex Eagles and Sussex Sharks, the Sharks have won 3 games while the Eagles have won 2. While Essex would have the home advantage, they would be under pressure as they are coming off two losses in a row. Moreover, Sussex looks quite formidable at the moment and in great form. Their batting unit might be too hot to handle for Essex and that could prove to be the difference.
Expect the Sussex Sharks to register a win.