ABOUT THE MATCH
Defending champions Worcestershire Rapids, who finished fourth in this year’s North Group, take on the team they beat in last year’s final – South Group winners Sussex Sharks – in a last-eight match at Hove. The quarter-final will take place on September 6.
Sussex Sharks were one of the stand-out teams in the group stage, winning eight of their 12 completed fixtures in the South Group. Laurie Evans, Luke Wright, and Philip Salt were all in the runs as the Sharks stormed to the top of the table.
The Rapids, meanwhile, were hit and miss but would still have finished second had they won their final game. Moeen Ali’s availability has been a big boost, with the England international scoring 191 runs in four innings and taking seven wickets.
Sussex have not won the toss in any of their last three matches so they are overdue one. After being asked to set a target last time out, and falling just short of defending it, the Sharks may elect to bowl first this time.
PITCH AND CONDITION
Hove is set to be cloudy on Friday evening, which will play into the hands of the bowlers. The chance of rain is around 25 percent and there will also be a bit of wind around with temperatures around 16 degrees Celsius.
Hove was a good batting wicket for the Kia Super League finals day but overhead conditions for this quarter-final could swing the balance back towards the bowlers.
PROBABLEPLAYING XI OF Sussex
Philip Salt, Luke Wright (c), Laurie Evans, Alex Carey (wk), Delray Rawlins, David Wiese, Chris Jordan, Ollie Robinson, Will Beer, Danny Briggs, Reece Topley
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF Worcestershire
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 will only have Alex Carey as an overseas option for this quarter-final, 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. Also unavailable are injured Tymal Mills and England paceman Jofra Archer.
- With the exception of Carey’s return for Ben Brown, it could be an unchanged team from the final group game.
- The Sharks were in excellent form in the group stage, winning eight of their 12 completed Vitality Blast games and tying another.
- They beat Middlesex by eight wickets, chasing 172, thanks to Laurie Evans 25-ball 52* before a seven-wicket win at Glamorgan as Alex Carey hit 61 in a score of 176/3 from 16.5 overs.
- They did end with a defeat, however, despite Delray Rawlins scoring 69 in a total of 163/8 at home to Gloucestershire. Rawlins then took 2-19 from four overs in the reply, but Reece Topley’s final ball was hit for six as the visitors claimed a dramatic three-wicket win.
- Martin Guptill’s New Zealand call-up has turned into a double blow for the Worcestershire Rapids after he suffered an injury while with the Black Caps.
- His replacement, Hamish Rutherford, is therefore also unavailable for the Rapids having flown out to Sri Lanka.
- It leaves the Rapids without an overseas player, as Callum Ferguson has already had to cut short his time with Worcestershire.
- Kolpak signing Wayne Parnell could return, however, after missing the final group game.
- A rained-off home match against Notts Outlaws, in between a 25-run defeat to Lancashire Lightning and a seven-wicket loss to Northants Steelbacks.
- Moeen Ali scored 51 and Ben Cox (44*) and Riki Wessels (45) also scored well as the Rapids posted 188/5 last time out, but Northants made light work of the chase on their way to a seven-wicket win.
PROBABLE WINNING TEAM:
Sussex Sharks are favorites with the bookmakers, having been one of the stand-out teams of the group stage. And we back Sussex Sharks over Worcestershire Rapids.
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