Gloucestershire need to get the batting above par – Bracewell
John Bracewell insists Gloucestershire's batsmen must emulate their Somerset counterparts if they are to prevail in tonight's big West Country t20 derby at Taunton.
Finalists in each of the last two seasons, Somerset boast one of the most destructive batting units in the domestic game and are hot favourites to beat their northern neighbours in front of a 9,000 sell-out crowd.
While admitting the prospect of taking on the Midlands/Wales/West Group leaders on their own ground is a daunting one, director of cricket Bracewell believes his underdogs can learn from Somerset's example and spring a surprise.
He said: "We've looked at Twenty20 cricket statistically and focussed on what the top sides do that we don't do.
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"We want to give our players direct evidence of what their expectations should be and what is required if they are to win games.
"We have learned that Somerset's batsmen hit the ball longer than we do and their boundary percentage is a lot higher than ours.
"A par score at their ground is about 180 and that is one of the highest in the country. That directs our strategy and we have asked ourselves how we can get to that point and post a par score or an above-par score.
"We have asked ourselves what we have to do within our skills set to make up those numbers and bridge the gap. If our batsmen are below par, then we are putting our bowlers under pressure and asking them to bowl below par and that does not happen in Twenty20 cricket. We cannot keep putting our bowlers under that kind of pressure, so we need to work out how to get above par.
"We have to look at what Somerset do and then work out which positions to put our batters in so they can score at the right stage of the game."
Somerset have won all three of their fixtures at Taunton, chasing successfully against Glamorgan and Northants and beating Warwickshire by 63 runs after posting an imposing 191-6.
Inspired by big-hitting batsmen Richard Levi, Craig Kieswetter, Pete Trego, Jos Buttler and Kevin O'Brien, Somerset clearly have more firepower than a Gloucestershire side that has struggled to post competitive totals for a number of seasons.
Bracewell said: "We do not have the resources to get the results Somerset are and we do not have the money to spend that they have.
"They are able to ship in a Twenty20 side, we cannot do that."
Forced to operate with a small squad, Gloucestershire have little scope to make changes to the team that lost to Warwickshire at Bristol in midweek. But all-rounder Will Gidman may come back into contention after being rested for the past fortnight.