The Vitality Blast quarter finals begin on Wednesday evening and the opening match in the race for finals day sees two of the biggest counties in the game meeting in the competition for the first time when Surrey host Yorkshire at The Oval.
Surrey dominated the South Group and had a home quarter final secured very early in the piece. They ended up topping the group while Yorkshire were recipients of a reprieve when Leicestershire were deducted two points.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket channels. The build-up begins at 6.15pm with the match beginning at 6.30pm.
When you look at the results of Surrey in this competition we need to really focus on the earlier stage of proceedings. The longer the campaign went on the more they were chopping and changing personnel due to international call ups but also they had already qualified with about four matches to spare and were rotating their side to get players they might need in this quarter final some game time. The fact they qualified so early shows how good a team they are.
Surrey have been hit with international call ups for this contest. Jason Roy, Sam Curran, Reece Topley and Chris Jordan will all be away but Ollie Pope does return from Test duty. They have both overseas players available in Sunil Narine and Aaron Hardie and still look pretty strong, although there are a couple of bowlers who will need to bowl well to make up for one or two weak links which might appear with those absent.
It might be that Yorkshire think that they have a free hit in this quarter final. I say that for a couple of reasons. The first being that they are extremely fortunate to be here in the first place having only qualified on net run rate after Leicestershire were deducted two points at the end of the group stage. The second would be that at no stage have they got any consistency this season so they might come out swinging and hope someone comes off enough to take the game away from Surrey.
Yorkshire also haven’t been helped by international call ups. They will be without Dawid Malan, David Willey, Harry Brook and would have been without Adil Rashid but he is away on a religious trip. The difference between Yorkshire and Surrey is there isn’t the depth in the Yorkshire squad to stay as strong with the bat with all their absences so there is huge pressure on their top three. Thankfully for them Finn Allen is available.
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Will Jacks is the leading scorer in the competition for Surrey this season by a country mile so you would imagine that he is going to be a key player in what should be a high scoring contest. He also takes over the captaincy for this game so he is an important figure for the home side.
Adam Lyth is the top scorer for Yorkshire this season with five 50s among his 518 runs. They have come at a strike rate of 178 and with some key players missing the White Rose county are going to need a big performance from their opener.
I’m expecting a high scoring match here. Yorkshire’s attack has offered little this term and only Dom Bess of the main bowlers who are likely to play in this quarter final is going at an economy of less than nine an over. Surrey are without three key bowlers who are off with England so I have to think we’ll be seeing the runs flow here. The other reason why I think that will be the case is there is an ODI at The Oval in six days so I would imagine we will be away from the middle of the square which will create a short boundary somewhere. Given that the straight boundaries at The Oval haven’t been long since the OCS Stand came to that end of the ground the batters should be able to find the ropes regularly in this one. We might not have the likes of Jason Roy, Sam Curran, Dawid Malan, David Willey and Harry Brook for this match but we do have Will Jacks, Ollie Pope, Sunil Narine, Adam Lyth, Finn Allen, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and others so 39.5 boundaries can be covered here.
Yorkshire haven’t used Jordan Thompson as a pinch hitter in this competition much this season but I suspect a lot of the reason for that has been because David Willey has played that role. He isn’t available here so I wonder if he will be shoved up the order, especially if as I suspect there is a short boundary so that Yorkshire can keep a left and right hander at the crease. Adam Lyth is the only left-hander in this line up so were he to go early we could easily see a promotion for Thompson, who regularly batted at three in previous seasons. It might be that Ottis Gibson isn’t as much a fan of a pinch hitter as Andrew Gale was but I’ll still pay to see as if Yorkshire do fail at the top he is a clean enough hitter to take advantage deeper in the order too.
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