Match Preview: Warwickshire v Lightning
Match Preview: Warwickshire v Lancashire Lightning, Royal London One-Day Cup
The champions lie in wait tomorrow, and Lancashire have very little room for manoeuvre after a winless start to the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Warwickshire won last season’s competition, although they are also struggling this year having won one and lost three of their opening four fixtures.
Unfortunately, the North Group table does not make for pretty reading for these two sides, with Lancashire having lost three from three, including yesterday’s six-wicket defeat to Northants at Liverpool as the visitors reeled in a target of 325 to win with 3.2 overs to spare.
However, the Lightning can hopefully gain confidence from a couple of recent results against the Bears as they bid to get on the board in one-day cricket.
They beat them at Emirates Old Trafford in last season’s Royal London One-Day Cup opener, while they also triumphed in a T20 friendly in Dubai in March.
This will be the first competitive meeting between the two counties since Ashley Giles left the Red Rose in the winter to return to Edgbaston.
With only the top three qualifying for the knockout stages, it may be that Lancashire have to win all of their remaining five games.
Warwickshire v Lancashire Lightning
Sunday 7 May
Warwickshire were beaten at home by Nottinghamshire on Friday to make it three games without a win having started the North Group campaign with victory against Northants a week last Thursday.
The Bears, chasing 304, could only post 293-9 in response against the Outlaws yesterday, for whom Billy Root, brother of Joe, scored a maiden first-team hundred in their 303-6.
Jonathan Trott also posted a ton to get the reply off to a healthy start, but Warwickshire collapsed from 185-1 in the 34th over to lose by 10 runs.
Former Red Rose all-rounder Steven Mullaney took three wickets for Notts. Captain Ian Bell hit a half-century for Warwickshire.
Warwickshire have also lost matches against Durham and Leicestershire this season.
In their last three games, the team batting first has posted above 300, including twice at Edgbaston.
Warwickshire also sit bottom of the Specsavers County Championship Division One table.
LAST TIME OUT
Lancashire beat the Bears in the opening round of fixtures at Emirates Old Trafford last season, but they could not capitalise on that early success as they failed to get out of the North Group.
Jos Buttler smashed a brilliant 91 off 73 balls to underpin a total of 296-8, also including Steven Croft’s 67, after the hosts elected to bat.
Half-centuries for Ian Bell and Trott kept the Bears in the chase before they slipped from 174-2 in the 35th over.
Tom Smith and Stephen Parry struck three times apiece as they finished on 254-9.
WHAT THEY SAID
In-form Jordan Clark, who hit 76 not out and took a wicket against Northants, has urged the Lightning to take inspiration from T20 campaigns gone by as they bid to bounce back in the RL50.
Lancashire have regularly been able to get on a roll in the shortest format of the game in group stages, but they have failed to replicate that in List A cricket.
Including the 2012 CB40 semi-final defeat to Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford, Lancashire have only won 15 of their last 41 List A fixtures.
And a turnaround has to start now if a Lord’s final this year is to remain a possibility.
“We’ve now lost three, but we have to go to Edgbaston with the mentality that we’ve got nothing to lose,” said the all-rounder.
“We’ll just go hard and back ourselves.
“In my time at Lancashire, we have acquired a momentum in T20 cricket, so I’m not really doubting the lads at all.”
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