PREVIEW: Lightning v Rapids, sponsored by Thomas Cook Sport
MATCH PREVIEW: Lancashire Lightning v Worcestershire Rapids, sponsored by Thomas Cook Sport
Steven Croft sums Lancashire’s NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final scenario up perfectly: “We’ve got two games left, we’ll have to win them and hope for some favours from elsewhere,” said the skipper.
The first of those two remaining games comes against Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow before Birmingham visit on Friday.
The North Group is so tightly packed this summer, with seven of the nine teams still harbouring hopes of qualification.
But eighth-placed Worcestershire are not one of them having only won three of their 12 games so far, losing eight.
Lancashire currently sit seventh in the table with eleven points from 12 games. Unfortunately, they have only won one of their last six.
With Derbyshire playing bottom side Durham at home tonight (Tuesday), the Lightning could go into tomorrow’s televised clash (6.30pm) three points outside the top four places.
The omens are good for Lancashire, who have won seven out of the last eight completed T20 encounters between these two sides, losing one.
Lancashire Lightning v Worcestershire Rapids, sponsored by Thomas Cook Sport
Wednesday 16 August
Emirates Old Trafford
NatWest T20 Blast
Things haven’t gone to plan this year for a Worcestershire side who remain one of only two sides never to have reached Finals Day alongside Derbyshire, although the Falcons could yet change that in 2017.
Hopes would have been high for good things following a semi-final run in the early-season Royal London one-day Cup campaign.
But they lost their first three matches, had their fourth rained off against Lancashire at New Road last month and have failed to recover.
They lost another immediately after that against Yorkshire at Headingley when, chasing a mammoth 234, left-hander Ross Whiteley hit six sixes in an over off spinner Karl Carver.
He will be a danger to the Lightning tomorrow, as will New Zealand overseas all-rounder Mitchell Santner, whose primary attribute is his left-arm spin.
The Rapids have been hit by the recent loss of Australian all-rounder John Hastings, their overseas player for all competitions this season.
He has been recalled by Cricket Australia in order to have treatment on a foot injury he picked up in a recent Championship match.
LAST TIME OUT
There wasn’t a ball bowled when these two were due to meet at New Road last month, so why not look back again at Jos Buttler’s special innings against the Rapids last year?
Buttler hit a brilliant 57 off 22 balls to help the Lightning chase down 199 last July.
He reached 50 off 20 balls, the club’s fastest ever in this format, having broken his thumb whilst wicketkeeping earlier in the game.
No surprise, Buttler missed power with innovation, before impressive Karl Brown steered Lancs home with an innings-top-score of 62.
WHAT THEY SAID
Steven Croft was gracious in defeat last time out for the Lightning as they were beaten by Yorkshire at Headingley on Friday having failed to chase 183: “They played the better cricket,” he said.
Croft is disappointed with the position the Lightning are in, adding: “It’s something we didn’t want to have to do. We wanted to keep it in our hands.”
For in-form leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, tomorrow presents him with another chance to impress in front of the TV cameras.
He claimed a career best haul of 4-23 from four overs against Yorkshire, taking his tally of wickets to 12 from seven games this year - more than any other Lightning bowler.
His economy rate is 6.16 runs per over, up there with the very best in the competition, and he was talked up by the Sky pundits on Friday night.
“Just look at Mason Crane. He’s got into the Test squad on the back of a very good T20 Blast season,” said Parkinson, who has only three fewer wickets in four fewer games than the Hampshire leggie.
“The games on telly, there are lots of people watching, the pundits there - it’s no bad thing to put in good performances.
“But it’s about repeating it. There’s no point doing well in front of a big crowd on TV if you can’t back that up in games where the atmosphere isn't quite there.”
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.