Waller hands Somerset welcome boost
Max Waller is set to return from injury as Somerset aim to end a run of two successive defeats and enhance their Friends Life t20 quarter-final prospects against the unchanged Welsh Dragons at the SWALEC Stadium tonight.
Leg-spinner Waller faces a late fitness test on a side strain that forced him to miss the loss to Worcestershire, which saw Somerset squander top spot in the Midlands/Wales/West Group.
Alfonso Thomas’ side have been dealt a blow with the news Steve Kirby will be occupying the sidelines for a month with a hamstring injury, but Peter Trego’s recall and the availability of Ireland pair George Dockrell and Kevin O’Brien provides a welcome boost.
Warwickshire and Worcestershire moved onto 11 points, one clear of Somerset, this afternoon after their matches against Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire were called off.
Hampshire have kept the same set of players that defeated Surrey on Monday night for the visit of South Group leaders Sussex to the Ageas Bowl.
The Royals’ five-match winning streak has propelled them into second spot, three points above Essex and the same distance below the Sharks, and know a victory over their closest rivals will see them qualify for the next stage and give them an outside chance of topping the group.
All-rounder Luke Wright understands the challenge that awaits Sussex and told ecb.co.uk: "It's going to be a tough game. Both sides have done very well. It's always tough when you're playing away from home - they know the conditions better than you do.
“I think we've got a great chance if we keep doing anything like we're doing and playing with the freedom we've been playing with. It should be a good game and there is probably more pressure on them than us really because of the lead we've got.
"You need the home quarter-final not only for an advantage from a team point of view, but from a club's financial point of view it's massive. It is big and I'm confident we can do that too."
Kent and Essex go head-to-head at Canterbury after triumphs over Surrey and Middlesex last night kept their quarter-final prospects alive, but a point for Hampshire will see them having to battle it out for a best third-place finish.
Ireland batting all-rounder Paul Stirling returns from international duty to bolster Middlesex as they make the short journey over the Thames to take on London rivals Surrey, who are rooted to the bottom after six straight losses.
Nottinghamshire secured their place in the last eight after their North Group trip to Derbyshire and defending champions Leicestershire’s clash with third-placed Durham fell foul of the weather earlier today.
Adam Voges’ side are three points clear of Durham with one game remaining, leaving the latter in a fight to claim a best third-place finish.
Leaders Yorkshire head into their second Roses match of the campaign knowing a victory at Old Trafford will secure a home quarter-final.
The White Rose have kept the same side that secured progression from the group stage for the first time in five years with a comfortable six-wicket win over nearest challengers Notts last night, while Lancashire have been deprived of Ajmal Shahzad’s services due to the terms of his loan agreement with Yorkshire.