Man of the Match: Benny Howell
Gloucestershire chase history against Northamptonshire
Gloucestershire to win!
There is a lot of interest in this particular quarterfinal, largely due to the off-field incidents that have shaped Gloucestershire heading into this tournament. They have had a strong season so far, but the unpredictable nature of this format and their opponent Northamptonshire means that we could be in for a cracking contest.
Gloucestershire has had some individual brilliance helping them tide together their campaign this season, and have largely been clinical in their performances so far. Northamptonshire has endured a mixed campaign thus far, and have had to depend on collective performances to pull them into the knockouts.
There is a clear contrast between the two teams in terms of the playing style, and while the hosts have tasted more success in the tournament so far, it would be incomplete if they aren’t able to get into the semifinals. The unbeaten record at Bristol would be a big boost for Gloucestershire and it means that the Northants will need to be at their absolute best to stand a chance.
With the COVID19 pandemic causing a lot of distress, there have been off-field issues for Gloucestershire to deal with. That they have managed to overcome the mental hurdle and perform the way they have speaks volumes of the team’s character. If they manage to make it to their first semifinal in 13 years, Jack Taylor’s men will have done the unthinkable.
Ian Cockbain has had a terrific time with the bat and he’s led the team’s fortunes at no.3, controlling the innings seamlessly with opener Chris Dent being the other notable performer for the team. The batting depth has allowed Gloucestershire to overperform with the bat even on decks that haven’t really assisted fluent strokeplay.
The bowlers have been equally efficient, led by Ryan Higgins and Tom Smith who have been the most successful bowlers for the team this season. The others have rallied around these big match-winners and ensured that Gloucs have never really let their foot off the pedal. At the business end of the tournament, they would hope that they don’t let the intensity dip.
M Hammond, C Dent, I Cockbain, J Bracey(wk), R Higgins, G van Buuren, J Taylor(c), B Howell, T Smith, D Payne, J Shaw
Chris Dent, Benny Howell, David Payne, GLV Buuren, Jack Taylor, Josh Shaw, Miles Hammond, Ryan Higgins, Tom Smith, Ian Cockbain, James Bracey
They haven’t had the kind of standout individual performances that their opponents have but have managed to stick together as a unit, consequently scraping through to make it to the quarterfinals. There are some dangerous players in there, especially at the top where Paul Stirling and Richard Levi can be ominous on their day. The rest of the batting isn’t threatening on paper but can be effective if the team gets off to a good start. In such a big game, it’s imperative for the Northants that one of their openers come to the party if not both.
The bowlers have had a relatively better season than the batsmen, and it won’t be wrong to say that they have played a bigger part in Northamptonshire’s fortunes in the tournament. Conditions at Bristol might not be overtly bowler-friendly but there could be enough to keep them interested. Against an in-form side like Gloucestershire, the Northants bowling will have to rise up to the occasion to ensure that the batters aren’t under extreme pressure.
R Levi, P Stirling, J Cobb(c), A Rossington(wk), L Procter, R Keogh, S Zaib, T Taylor, G White, N Buck, B Sanderson
Rob Keogh, Adam Rossington, Richard Levi, Tom Taylor, Josh Cobb, Ben Sanderson, Paul Stirling, Luke Procter, Saif Zaib, Graeme White, Nathan Buck
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||17||0 mm.||3.18 k/h||From: SSW||1%|
|03h||16||0 mm.||3.45 k/h||From: SW||0%|
|06h||16||0 mm.||3.95 k/h||From: SW||0%|
|09h||16||0 mm.||4.09 k/h||From: SW||0%|
|12h||18||0 mm.||3.67 k/h||From: SW||0%|
|15h||22||0 mm.||4.56 k/h||From: SW||0%|
|18h||24||0 mm.||4.68 k/h||From: SW||0%|
|21h||21||0 mm.||4.47 k/h||From: SSW||0%|
The rain has been forecast across England this week and Bristol is no different. The pitches here have been decent to bat on although they have been a bit dry and slow. There could be a two-paced nature on the surface.
Bristol has been a limited-overs venue in international cricket, known for high-scoring games most of the time. In County cricket, it’s been a regular venue across formats.
It’s imperative to bat first in a crunch game, more so on these used surfaces and that’s probably what the captain winning the toss will do. Although the rain forecast could force a dilemma.