Our prediction is Hampshire will beat Kent in the first match at Canterbury and open their accounts with the two points.
The Royal London One Day Cup started in 2014 and is played yearly since then among 18 teams, divided into two geographical groups – North and South. Top three teams from each group advance to the knockout stage. Hampshire was the winner of the One-Day Cup 2018 as they triumphed over Kent by 61 runs.
On 17th of April, the contest between last year’s finalists - Hampshire and Kent - is expected to be an exciting one, as both teams would want to begin the season on a winning note, bagging two points. Hampshire would want to focus on strategies to tackle Hampshire. They did it in the past, they can do it again
In the opening year, 2014, Kent reached the semi-final after beating Gloucestershire in the quarter-final, but later got defeated by Warwickshire. In 2015 and 2016, Kent found their place in the top-four of the South Group’s table but failed to make it to the semi-finals both the times. Kent faced terrible 2017 season as they lost 7 out of 8 group matches and ended up at the bottom of South Group Table.
In the One-Day Cup 2018, they reached the playoffs by securing thirds position with 10 points. They had crushed Nottinghamshire in the play-off by 9 wickets and stunned North Group’s top team - Worcestershire - by 2 wickets chasing 307 in the semi-final thanks to prolific Heino Kuhn’s fourth century. Had they controlled R Rossouw in the finals, the Cup might have been in their possession. But Hampshire has always been a tough opponent for them. Albeit, this time they must be better prepared as ex-England test batsman Jonathan Trott joined the coaching team, as support to Head Coach Matt Walker, during the entire Royal London One-Day Cup this season.
Sam Billings (C, WK), DJ Bell-Drummond, HG Kuhn, JL Denly, SR Dickson, AJ Blake, DI Stevens, MJ Henry, CJ Haggett, HW Podmore, Imran Qayyum
Hampshire did not perform well in 2014 season of the One-Day Cup, as they stayed at the bottom of the points table with only one win. They improved in 2015 and ended the group-round with the 3rd position, but later lost to that year’s winner Gloucestershire in the quarter-final. They were unlucky in 2016, as they missed the place in the top four, by one point.
2017 had been a forgettable season for Hampshire as they lost 4 out of 8 matches and ended up at the sixth position. They bounced back in 2018 and top the South Group points-table entering directly in the semi-final. They posted a humongous total of 348, thanks to James Vince's 126 ball-171, and beat Yorkshire by 107 runs to reach the final, where they defeated Kent to clinch the cup for the first time. 2018 was a fantastic season for Hampshire as they lost only two matches, one to Somerset, another to Kent. They would want to repeat it this year as well.
JM Vince (c), TP Alsop, RR Rossouw, SA Northeast, LA Dawson, LD McManus (WK), JJ Weatherley, GK Berg, Kyle Abbott, CP Wood, MS Crane.
The venue for this match is The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury. Of the 4 ODIs played at this venue, 2 have been won by the team batting first and 2 by the team batting second. The ground did not record scores higher than 272 and the lowest score here is 186
The team winning the toss might opt to bowl first, look for early wickets and chase the target at the known run rate.
This is a match between last season’s finalist, while Hampshire look confident thanks to good memories of the last season, Kent would want to come out as victorious to strike out previous loss. It is going to be a tight contest. However, looking at the last year's performances and the results, it looks like Hampshire will overwhelm Kent.
Thus, our prediction is that Hampshire will beat Kent and begin the tournament from where they left last year.
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