PREVIEW: Bears v Lightning
PREVIEW: Birmingham Bears v Lancashire Lightning, NatWest T20 Blast
Lancashire head to Birmingham tomorrow afternoon as they bid to put a frustrating few days behind them in the NatWest T20 Blast.
The Lightning suffered their second defeat in seven North Group matches to Derbyshire at the County Ground on Tuesday before last night’s clash with Nottinghamshire at Emirates Old Trafford, their eighth in all, was wiped out due to rain.
It all means that Steven Croft’s side sit on nine points from eight matches, with their trip to face the Bears at Edgbaston the first of six remaining group fixtures.
Make no mistake, it is far from doom and gloom for Lancashire.
They are still very much in the hunt for a quarter-final berth.
They are third in the table and the first of three teams on nine points. Northants are second with ten and Yorkshire top with eleven.
It is just that, ahead of Tuesday’s clash with the Falcons, they had the chance to go top of the table and take a significant step in their quest for a second title in three seasons.
The majority of last night’s fixtures around the country were washed out.
Birmingham Bears v Lancashire Lightning
Sunday 30 July
NatWest T20 Blast
Birmingham (Warwickshire in the other forms) have enjoyed their most successful run of the season in Twenty20 cricket.
Rock bottom of the Division One in the County Championship and odds on for relegation, the Bears finished in the same position in the Royal London one-day Cup, winning only two of their eight matches.
They lost to Lancashire at Edgbaston in the latter competition in May when Croft scored a century.
In the Blast, they have won four of eight and, like Lancashire, sit on nine points.
They have a trio of current and former New Zealand internationals at their disposal.
Retired all-rounder Grant Elliott is playing on a Kolpak registration in this competition alone, with their specialist Blast overseas is another Kiwi all-rounder, Colin de Grandhomme.
De Grandhomme is a seam bowler who hits it a mile with the bat. Experienced off-spinner Jeetan Patel is their overseas player for all competitions.
The Bears had last night’s home clash with Yorkshire rained off, meaning batsman Adam Hose could debut tomorrow having moved from Somerset on a three-year deal with immediate effect.
LAST TIME OUT
Lancashire won a low-scoring contest at Emirates Old Trafford by a significant 30-run margin to end last year’s disappointing campaign on a high.
On a tricky pitch, the Lightning recovered from 59-5 in the 14th over, with spinners Josh Poysden and Jeetan Patel sharing three wickets, to post 124-5.
Jordan Clark and on-loan wicketkeeper Tom Moores shared 65 unbroken for the sixth wicket. Moores hit a career 39 off 32 and Clark 31 off 18.
Birmingham were 33-1 in the fifth over of their chase, but fell away badly as Saqib Mahmood starred with a career best 3-12. They finished on 94-8.
WHAT THEY SAID
Steven Croft is relishing the trip to Edgbaston, a ground where he enjoys visiting.
He will, of course, be hoping it is the first of two T20 trips to Edgbaston this summer, with Finals Day there on September 2.
“I tend to like playing at Edgbaston, and we’ve got a good record against Birmingham,” said the skipper. “We’re looking forward to it.
"I hope if we can get four more wins from our remaining games that would be enough to see us through.
“First and foremost we want to get out the group, but ideally we would like to be at home as our record is great at home.
“We’ve played some good cricket, and we feel like we do have a bit of a good formula in T20.
“We’ve played five spinners, especially at home on a bigger field. Going into the second half of the competition, we have a lot of options.
“Sometimes it’s one too many. As a captain you don’t know who to pick, but it’s a good headache to have really.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to get out the group.
“As long as we have some of that good momentum - as everyone says in T20 cricket, it goes a long way.”
Take a look at the other fixtures taking place on Sunday 30 July in the NatWest T20 Blast North Group:
- Derbyshire Falcons v Leicestershire Foxes, The 3aaa County Ground
- Worcestershire Rapids v Durham Jets, New Road
- Notts Outlaws v Yorkshire Vikings, Trent Bridge
Bails and Ales drinks festival
This summer, Emirates Old Trafford will be hosting its first ever Bails and Ales drinks festival during the final two games of the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast campaign.
The Bails and Ales drinks festival will be the first of its kind for the biggest domestic cricket competition in the country, and will combine that festival atmosphere with exciting T20 cricket – with some of best named breweries coming together for this unique event including Heineken, JW Lees, Joseph Holt and Robinsons.
2017 Bails and Ales drinks festival dates
- Lancashire Lightning v Worcestershire Rapids (including Lancashire Thunder v Surrey Stars) – Wed 16 Aug
- Lancashire Lightning v Birmingham Bears – Fri 18 Aug
Buy your tickets for the first ever Bails and Ales drinks festival here, or by calling 0161 868 6868 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org ...but don’t forget you can benefit from the best ticket prices by buying online and can beat the queues by using our print at home tickets.