There is one match taking place on the penultimate day of Vitality Blast group stage action on Saturday and it comes along in the evening when Essex play host to Glamorgan in a big contest for the home side in the South section.
Essex have already qualified for the quarter finals of the competition but a win here would put them into second place and force Somerset to beat Surrey on Sunday to deny the Eagles a home quarter final. Glamorgan can no longer qualify so they are playing for form.
When you looked at the South Group at the beginning of the campaign and assessed the runners and riders I don’t think too many would have had the Essex Eagles particularly high up on their radar. The feeling was they lacked a little bit of power in the middle order and might be a bowler light, but to be fair to them they have defied all of that to secure their qualification with a match to spare. Only Somerset have come away from Chelmsford with a win this season so if Essex can get a home quarter final it could be significant.
Essex have relied on their batting for much of this campaign. That isn’t to say that they haven’t bowled well but they have conceded a huge number of runs at certain points in the season, although I guess you could argue that is par for the course when they play at Chelmsford. The good thing though is that their batting has fired throughout the campaign and if it can do so for another four outings then the 2020 champions could reclaim the title.
It has been an inconsistent campaign for Glamorgan this term and as a result of that they know that their fate is sealed. I would imagine that the Welsh outfit will be frustrated that rain has hindered them as the season has gone on. They have had two no results and then another match which was reduced to seven overs which they came out on the wrong side of, although one of the washouts was against Surrey so that argument might not carry much weight.
Another problem for Glamorgan have been the pitches they have played on. They have been sluggish and not really conducive to hitting the ball hard which a lot of their younger batters like to do. When they have gone on their travels they have played quite freely with the bat but because they are not used to bowling on tracks which offer up little for the bowlers, they have been found out and have conceded a large number of runs.
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Simon Harmer might not be the most obvious standout for a key player in a T20 match but on a ground where runs are scored at a huge rate his ability to apply the shackles for a team and take wickets is invaluable.
Colin Ingram will need to go well for Glamorgan for them to have a chance of winning what you would imagine will be a high scoring contest. He is the one Glamorgan player who can impose themselves on the opposition and hit anything out of the park.
There is something competitive on this match in terms of the potential for a home match for Essex in the quarter final but at the same time they are through to the next round and that home contest would still be out of their hands even if they win this game so I’m a little conscious of a release in intensity here. Usually I would be all over the team who didn’t play the night before but Glamorgan have no competitive issues riding on this encounter so that definitely puts me off taking them.
Therefore I’ll head to the obvious bet for this match and that comes in the form of the sixes. This is a high scoring ground and we’ve had some bonkers totals in sixes here this season. There were 25 when Sussex came here and 21 when Somerset rolled into town. The line for this match is 9.5 which looks low for Chelmsford anyway but that might even more be the case when you consider that Glamorgan can swing freely without any pressure on them but that they leak runs at a huge rate on their travels. I like the over here.
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