Date & Time: Thursday, August 27, 18:30 IST
Venue: County Ground, Chelmsford, England
And, here comes yet another highly-anticipated tournament after the lockdown. It is the title winners of 2019, Essex and Steven Finn-led Middlesex, who are locking horns tonight at Chelmsford County Ground. Both respective teams have equipped quality players for the season to make it an eventful journey.
Essex team will mostly rely on Varun Chopra, Cameron Delport and Tom Westley in the batting section while Ryan Ten Doeschate will look after the all-rounder section alongside the skipper Simon Harmer. Coming to the bowling department, it is Shane Snater And James Porter, who will lead the fast-bowling lineup while the spin section will led by Aron Nijjar.
Cameron Delport was the top scorer for Essex Eagles in the last Blast season with 409 runs from 14 matches at an average of 66.40 and a strike rate of 167. He scored one century and three half-centuries last year with the best of 129. In bowling, Simon Harmer picked up 17 wickets for Essex Eagles from 14 matches with best figures of 4/19. He bowled at an average of 20 and an economy of 8.15.
On the other hand, Middlesex finished at the 3rd place in their group after the league stage with 7 wins and 6 losses from 14 matches. They lost their quarter-final match against Nottinghamshire. Toby Roland-Jones was their top wicket-taker with 19 wickets from 14 matches with best figures of 5/21. He bowled at an average of 19 and an economy of 8.55.
With skipper Eoin Morgan away on international duty for most of the tournament, it is Simpson, Eskinazi and Gubbins to take the burden of batting order. All in all, a good contest is expected in the tournament opener.
Varun Chopra, Cameron Delport, Tom Westley, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Dan Lawrence, Paul Walter, Adam Wheater, Simon Harmer, Shane Snater, Jamie Porter, Matthew Quinn/Nijjar/Beard
Nick Gubbins, John Simpson, Stephen Eskinazi, Max Holden, Martin Andersson, Jack Davies, L Hollman, Tom Helm, Nathan Sowter, Steven Finn, M Cummins
As per the stats, it seems like we are in for a high-scoring thriller tonight. Reportedly, there was nothing much on offer for the bowlers in the last couple of years, giving a full extent of bat swing for the batsmen. However, the weather conditions might give a little bit of assistance for the fast bowlers with the new ball, but as the game progresses, batsmen will enjoy ball coming on to the bat. All in all, a high-scoring game is on the cards.
Cameron Delport had a sensational tournament last year for Essex with the bat. He was their top scorer and also rolled his arms at times. We expect him to deliver once again in the same way for Essex in the season opener. Further, he has got exceptional stats at this venue with ppm of 76.5.
Unfortunately, Varun Chopra had played only three games in the last season but he is raring to go for the new season. He has got ppm of 48 in T20 blast career and 47 at this venue. We expect him to start the tournament on a positive note.
The lanky fast bowler has been exceptional for his side in the last season with 19 wickets to his name. He carries PPM of 40 in his T20 career and also got 45 at this venue. With Tim Murtagh staying away, we expect Tom Helm to take the primary role for his side. Thus, he is our must have player for this game.
The skipper of Essex is the leading wicket taker for them in the last season with 17 wickets to his name and also bats in the middle order. Thus, we chose him as our must have player for this contest.