The 7th and 8th ranked teams are clashing in South Group with Essex having a glimmer of hope to qualify for the playoffs, unlike Kent.
Essex never lost to Kent in Royal London games. Our prediction is that Essex will defeat Kent to keep their hopes alive to reach the playoffs round.
Kent has won just one out of six matches. The match against Glamorgan did not yield a result and they lost the matches against Hampshire, Somerset, Sussex, and Gloucestershire. Their highest score in the tournament is 298 against Sussex, while lowest is 94 against Somerset. In their last game, they got their first victory against Surrey, which was a low scoring match at London.
Essex has managed just two wins in this tournament so far. The first match they won was against Glamorgan. The South Group’s top team - Hampshire - have lost just one game and that credit goes to Essex. They have exceptional batting line-up with the likes of DW Lawrence, Varun Chopra, and Tom Westley, and their bowling unit looks good with PM Siddle, Ravi Bopara, and Matt Coles. Essex was hapless to lose the last match to Sussex, but now they need to focus on this match to stay alive in the tournament.
Kent has a good history in the Royal London One-Day tournaments as they reached semi-finals a couple of times. But this time, they are out of the race of the playoffs, winning just 1 of their 6 group games.
They have lost to Hampshire, Somerset and Sussex and Gloucestershire. Barring the match against Surrey which they won by 8 wickets, Kent’s bowling department lacked match-winning spells. In 3 matches, their opponents crossed 300. They lost to Hants by 90 runs followed by a bigger loss against Somerset. Despite Matt Renshaw’s century, Kent lost the game against Sussex by 7 wickets. Against Gloucestershire GH Roderick’s century cost them the match. The seamer Matt Milnes’s contribution has been outstanding for Kent this season, with 12 wickets in 6 matches, while Klaassen has taken 8 wickets so far. Remarkable bowling from Milnes and Klaassen ensured Kent their first victory. Zak Crawley has scored 180 runs in 5 games. Their other batsmen have not really applied in the matches played so far. With such fewer key contributors, the match against Essex will be a very challenging one for Kent.
JL Denly (c), Z Crawley, SR Dickson, HG Kuhn, AJ Blake, OG Robinson, AP Rouse (wk), HW Podmore, ME Milnes, Imran Qayyum, FJ Klaassen
Essex has a very good record in the Royal London tournaments as in past seasons, they haven’t yet failed to make it to the knock-out rounds. But this year, they have placed themselves in a difficult situation with just 2 wins in 6 games. Essex had a promising start by defeating Glamorgan but then they lost 3 consecutive games to Middlesex, Surrey, and Somerset. They defeated Hampshire at Chelmsford by 11 runs which are Hampshire's only defeat in the tournament so far. The match against Sussex must have disappointed them as they lost by 1 wicket. After scoring 283 and taking 9 wickets in defense, the loss has made it difficult for Essex to advance to the next stage.
Key contributors for Essex are Tom Westley with 295 runs in the tournament, followed by Varun Chopra who amassed 263 in just 3 games he played, that includes two centuries. With four half centuries, Dan Lawrence has made 238 runs. Peter Siddle leads the bowling side with 12 wickets, followed by Ravi Bopara and Matt Coles with 7 wickets each. Alastair Cook's failure to make runs is an issue for Essex. Still, they have a remarkable record against Kent and there is enough to ignite Essex to play their level best.
RN ten Doeschate (c), V Chopra, AN Cook, T Westley, DW Lawrence, RS Bopara, RG White (wk), SR Harmer, PM Siddle, JA Porter, SJ Cook
The venue for this match is The Kent County Cricket Ground, Beckenham. The ground has not witnessed an international match. In List A matches, the Highest total here is 384/8 by Kent against Surrey in 2018. The highest partnership is 186 for the second wicket by HG Kuhn and JL Denly, for Kent against Gloucestershire, 2018. The highest individual score is 137 not out by PD Salt for Sussex against Kent this season.
The ground looks good for batting and the team winning the toss should bat first.
This is a match between South Groups teams - Essex and Kent - separated by just one point. Even if Kent wins both the remaining matches, they are not going to qualify for the playoffs. While Essex has a minor chance of entering the next round after winning their rest of the matches. Kent has never beaten Essex in the Royal London games and looking at the current matches’ performances of both the teams, it will be difficult for Kent to beat Essex this time.
Thus, our prediction is that Essex would beat Kent to stay alive in the competition also to keep their sheet against Kent clean.
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