Essex Eagles continue the NatWest T20 Blast campaign in Taunton to face Somerset on Friday night with the match scheduled to commence at 5:30pm.
The visitors have named a 13-man squad which includes a fit-again Graham Napier who has been sidelined with a calf injury sustained in the LV= County Championship match versus Worcestershire at New Road.
Essex Eagles commence the match in the West Country in second place in the South Division and level on points with Hampshire who have a superior run rate over the Eagles. The visitors have only lost one of the seven fixtures and also have a game in hand. Meanwhile Somerset are in the lower half of the Group having won three and lost four of their matches.
A top-four position in the group will secure a place in the knockout stages with the top two teams guaranteeing a home tie in the quarter-finals. However, Essex Head Coach, Paul Grayson is firstly focussing on achieving a place in the last eight.
“The message I’ve given to the squad is to get qualified as quickly as we can,” he said.
“Looking at the players that Somerset have, it’s a bit surprising that they have not made a better start to the competition. We’ve had some really good battles with them in the past and we know that we are in for another tough game. We need to keep playing well and keep our good run going to get a top two position, which will bring us another game at Chelmsford.
“I’ve been delighted with the fact that a number of our players have made match-winning contributions. Tim Phillips was the latest with his excellent innings against Middlesex Panthers last week. It’s been good to have won a number of games quite comfortably but it does mean that some of our players like Ben Foakes, James Foster and Tim Phillips have not had much of a bat.
“The Middlesex game was a different challenge because we kept losing wickets and they bowled very well. The wicket wasn’t that easy to score on so it’s even more pleasing when the likes of Tim come in and perform like he did.
“We don’t want to be over-reliant on two or three players. I think that it shows the confidence we have within the group regarding one-day cricket that everyone feels whenever they get the opportunity, they can put in a performance which will help to win the game.”