MATCH PREVIEW: Lancashire Lightning v Northants
Lancashire v Northamptonshire, sponsored by LeasingOptions.co.uk
Sunday July 8, 2018
Emirates Old Trafford, 2.30pm
What a way to bounce back!
The Lightning struck the Derbyshire Falcons down last night to banish memories of Thursday’s opening night home defeat to Worcestershire.
Now, two-time winners Northamptonshire lie in wait as Liam Livingstone and company bid for back-to-back victories tomorrow afternoon.
Captain Livingstone’s scintillating match-clinching century set a couple of notable records.
It included seven sixes, and no other Lancashire batsman has ever cleared the ropes that many times in a T20 innings.
In reaching 100 off 49 balls - he was out two balls later - he became the fastest of the county’s five T20 centurions, beating Alviro Petersen’s previous record of 52 balls.
His opening partnership of 160 with Alex Davies (50 not out) was also the county’s second highest stand for any wicket in T20, falling short of 162 unbroken between VVS Laxman and Steven Croft for the second wicket in a win over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 2009.
Back to tomorrow’s game, and Northants head into the clash having played two, lost two - against Leicestershire and Notts at Wantage Road.
Livingstone and Glen Chapple face a tough selection call.
Do they opt to stick with the same team that performed so well in beating Derbyshire or do they alter their team to suit conditions which are expected to be more spin friendly at Emirates Old Trafford?
Stephen Parry did not play at Derby for example as Livingstone used only five overs of spin - four from Matthew Parkinson and one from himself.
Northants may well make changes, although they are suffering from some key injuries, with Adam Rossington, Rob Newton, Richard Keogh and Blackpool-born Lions quick Richard Gleeson all having missed, or will miss, significant amounts of cricket.
Former Lancashire duo Nathan Buck and Steven Crook have played the first two matches, but Luke Procter hasn’t.
Northants are aiming for their third title and fifth Finals Day appearance, although they have an uphill battle already having lost the first two. However, the good thing about 14 group games is that you can recover.
Overseas all-rounders Rory Kleinveldt (South Africa) and Seekkuge Prasanna have returned to Wantage Road.
Despite the injuries, the Steelbacks still have some dangerous players in the likes of openers Ben Duckett and Richard Levi, captain Alex Wakely, Josh Cobb and spinner Graeme White with the ball, who is a wily operator.
This fixture is a repeat of the 2015 final at Edgbaston.
Ryan McLaren’s T20 career best 77 off 50 balls was not enough to see Lancashire chase 159 at Wantage Road last August, with the Steelbacks winning by 11 runs.
The Lightning slipped to 25-5 before McLaren, helped by Dane Vilas’ 27-ball 40, just about kept the visitors alive, needing 26 off the last over.
They finished on 147-9, with McLaren out midway through the last over to all but end the game.
Northants posted 158-4 after being inserted. Powerful South African opener Levi hit 71 off 54.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Liam Livingstone is determined to kick on from his stunning century at Derby, admitting: “I think it was about time I pulled my finger out!”
Livingstone, 24, had only posted two fifties in 39-ball previous career innings in T20.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I’ve still got a lot to learn in white ball cricket, but I think I’m learning pretty quickly.
“Hopefully it’s not just a one-off and the start of something. I want to kick on in this competition to put in some more match-winning performances for the lads.”
Livingstone’s dash for a century came late, with the win all but secured much earlier in the chase.
“I think we needed 34 and I needed 28,” he added. “And I said to Al (Davies) ‘I’m trying!’.
“If we can get another win on Sunday, at the start of the competition you’d take two wins out of three.
“It’s up to us to back it up, do exactly what we’ve done (at Derby) and keep it going through the rest of the tournament.”