The third quarterfinal of the Vitality Blast T20 2019 will be played between Sussex Sharks and Worcestershire Rapids at the County Ground in Hove on September 6.
Defending champions Worcestershire finished fourth in the North Group to qualify whereas Sussex ended at the top in the South Division. Worcestershire won six and lost five out of 14 matches while three of their games ended without a result. The team lost their last match else they would have easily finished second. On the other hand, Sussex were one of the stand-out teams in the group stage and won eight out of their 12 completed fixtures.
Although Sussex ended their group journey with a defeat at home to Gloucestershire they have been in terrific form throughout. Sussex will have Alex Carey as the only overseas option for this match with Jason Behrendorff having returned home for treatment on a recurrence of his back injury. Rashid Khan’s stint with the county has already ended along with the injured Tymal Mills and Jofra Archer. Luke Wright has scored the most runs for Sussex with 360 runs from 13 matches at an average of over 35 and a strike rate of over 125 with two half-centuries. Laurie Evans and Philip Salt contributed with good amount of runs in the group stage as well. On the other hand, after returning from a back injury, Reece Topley is the top wicket taker for Worcestershire with 16 wickets from 10 games at an average of 17 this season so far.
Martin Guptill’s replacement, Hamish Rutherford, will be also unavailable for the qualifier as he has flown to Sri Lanka to fulfill the national duty. It means in all probability the Rapids will be without an overseas player tomorrow. But they have Moeen Ali who can be the game changer. He has been good support with both bat and ball and his inclusion in the team is a real booster for Worcestershire. They have Riki Wessels, their highest run-scorer so far with 349 runs from 11 matches at an average of close to 35 and a strike rate of close to 150, with three half-centuries. On the other hand, the 21-year old Pat Brown has picked up 14 wickets from 11 matches with Wayne being next with 11 wickets from 10 games.
With the exception of Carey’s return for Ben Brown, Sussex, in all likelihood will take on the field with the same team from their final group match. They will be the favorites for the match although history is in favour of Worcestershire.
Head to head
Last edition's final match was the first time these two teams met in T20 cricket which Worcestershire won by five wickets.
Alex Carey (Sussex): In seven innings, Carey has hit 256 runs in nine matches including two half-centuries at a strike rate of more than 150. Average wise he is at the second position just after David Wiese. When Sussex lost their last group match, they were without Carey. Hopefully, Carey’s comeback to the team will work a key change.
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire): Ali’s exclusion from England side has been the Rapids’ gain. The all-rounder back to captain his county side and has been effective with both bat and ball. Ali has scored two half-centuries on his way to 191 runs in four games with the highest score of 85*. He has also scalped seven wickets so far at an average of 16.71.
Sussex Sharks: Philip Salt, Luke Wright (c), Laurie Evans, Alex Carey (wk), Delray Rawlins, David Wiese, Chris Jordan, Ollie Robinson, Will Beer, Danny Briggs, Reece Topley
Worcestershire Rapids: Riki Wessels, Moeen Ali (c), Wayne Parnell, Tom Fell, Ben Cox (wk), Ross Whiteley, Ed Barnard, Daryl Mitchell, Dillon Pennington, Patrick Brown, Joe Leach
Sussex Sharks to win.