Published: 12th August, 2017
With just three matches remaining to secure a quarter-final spot, the stakes are high in Sunday’s Natwest T20 Blast clash between Surrey and Sussex Sharks at the Kia Oval.
Sussex ran out winners in the first match between the sides at Hove last week but Surrey will be looking to bounce back in style if they are to keep alive hopes of reaching the knock out stages.
With both sides needing a victory, it’s sure to be a tense afternoon at the Kia Oval. Who will come out on top?
Ollie Pope v Will Beer
Surrey’s second highest run scorer in the tournament so far, behind only Aaron Finch, 19-year-old Pope is enjoying the responsibility of batting in the middle order.
The skillful batsmen has hit 212 runs at an average of 30.28 in his nine innings so far with his top score coming in last week’s trip to Somerset. Pope has garnered his reputation as a creator of shots that are simply impossible for the bowler to predict. Scoops, reverse sweeps and crushing blows through cover have become his bread and butter in front of the huge crowds often found at the Kia Oval.
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) July 9, 2017
Pope’s role means he is often tasked with keeping the Surrey innings rolling in the middle overs, when spin bowlers are attempting to strangle the batsmen of as much room and freedom as possible.
Against Sussex, that will mean navigating Beer, who has long been regarded as one of the best white ball specialist spinners in the county game. Should Pope get Beer away early, he may have the upper hand in the remainder of their individual battle.
Gareth Batty v Chris Nash
A battle between two genuine club men is always an enjoyable watch in county cricket and that’s what is on offer here. Nash is Sussex’s top T20 scorer this year, with 303 runs, while Batty has nine wickets from just 22 overs.
Batty’s best figures in this year’s competition are his 4/14 at Lord’s in the London derby, proving his love of the biggest occasions in the game. Whether Surrey bat or bowl first, he’ll need to once again keep his cool to get the better of the in-form and experienced Nash and give Surrey a boost towards the closing overs of their fielding effort.
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) August 9, 2017