Essex Eagles are set for back-to-back matches this week when the Vitality Blast campaign continues. On Thursday, the Eagles make the short trip to London to meet Surrey at the Kia Oval, before hosting Glamorgan on Friday in another sold out clash at The Cloudfm County Ground.
With one win and one defeat from the opening two matches in the competition, all-rounder Ravi Bopara is keen for the Eagles to put together a winning run of form.
“It’s been mixed fortunes so far, we weren’t happy with our performance in the defeat to Sussex Sharks but then we put our first win on the board by beating Middlesex last Friday, so we are okay,” said the all-rounder.
“Our aim at this stage in the competition is always to reach the knockout stages by finishing top of our group. A few wins and that gives you momentum and hopefully, we’ll get a couple more positive results this week.
“Qualifying for the next stage is the number one objective.”
The 33 year-old, who made 38 T20 International appearances for England, believes that the Eagles have a couple of aces in their bowling attack in the shape of spinners Simon Harmer and Adam Zampa.
“Spinners around the country are playing a key role in matches this season and that doesn’t surprise me particularly with the hot weather we’ve had,” he said. “The wickets are dry and they are going to turn or at least hold for the spinners.
“Generally anyway, in my experience, spinners play a big part in T20 and to have the two world-class performers that we have in Harmer and Zampa should give us a huge advantage. Regardless of where you play matches, spinners are always in the game and will always take wickets.
“Obviously the batters have got to do their part as well but I’d like to think our spin options will be vital in helping us to get to the next stage.”
Surrey are still looking for their first Vitality Blast win this summer after losing to Middlesex and Kent Spitfires but their ranks have been boosted by the arrival of big-hitting Australian duo Aaron Finch and Nic Maddinson. Both have experience of playing in the IPL and Big Bash, and Finch arrives in scintillating form.
Playing for Australia against Zimbabwe in an International T20 just over a week ago, Finch hit 172 from 76 deliveries in Harare. His first 50 runs took 22 deliveries before bringing up his second IT20 century from just 50 balls.
The Eagles squad to face Surrey:
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
Adam Wheater (31) Wicket-Keeper
Ravi Bopara (25)
Varun Chopra (6)
Matt Coles (1)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Matt Quinn (94)
Neil Wagner (13)
Tom Westley (21)
Ashar Zaidi (99)
Adam Zampa (88)
Report provided by Essex CCC