Former Proteas bowler Simon Harmer will have a vital role to play when Essex and Somerset go head to head, for the second consecutive year, in the Bob Willis final on Wednesday.
Defending champions Essex will be eyeing a third title in four years with the hope of establishing themselves as the new powerhouse of franchise cricket, while Somerset will be eager to put the fluke to bed after falling over the final hurdle five times in the past ten years.
Both sides haven’t lost a match in their last five encounters this season, which suggest very little to separate them ahead of the coin toss.
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But, for Essex, it’s the import spinner Simon Harmer that has become the direct step-up in results since he signed a Kolpak contract in June 2017.
Last season Harmer bamboozled the competition, finishing as the leading wicket-taker by the end of the final with a staggering total of 83 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 18.28.
His influence on the Essex squad has been nothing short of spectacular and he is set to be their main man once again this week.
Despite the compromises of a smaller competition this year due to Covid-19, Harmer still leads the bowling charts and it could be worth it for South African fans to feast their eyes on his performance over the next five days.
The 31-year-old has amassed 34 wickets in only five matches this season at an average of 13.70. He also delivered his best bowling figures of 8-64 in Essex’s recent clash with Surrey.
From a South African point of view and while looking at the bigger picture, Harmer has accumulated 251 first-class wickets since he arrived in England three years ago at an average of 19.32 during that time.
Observing that, it is easy to see why he has become such a talked-about player in the British cricketing media and why some even hoped that he could soon be eligible to play for the England national team.
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Essex, though, won’t get ahead of themselves for this final but with Alastair Cook at the top of the order and Tom Abell their inspirational leader, it is going to take something special from Somerset to beat them.
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports Cricket‘s Youtube channel from 11am.