MATCH PREVIEW: Leicestershire vs Lancashire Lightning
Leicestershire v Lancashire, Vitality Blast, North Group
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Fischer County Ground, Grace Road, 6.30pm
Lancashire could go top of the North Group table with a win over a Foxes side who have won two, lost two so far.
Lightning are on a roll.
Since losing their opening night clash with Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford, they have won their last three matches, including twice against Derbyshire, the latest being at home on Saturday.
They sit on six points, two behind leaders Worcestershire, who have won four of their five matches so far. The Rapids have a significantly superior net run-rate.
Lancashire would drop a place tonight should reigning champions Notts beat Durham, but a win at Grace Road would ensure that was rectified.
If Lancashire can win against the Foxes, it would set them up perfectly for Friday’s blockbuster Roses meeting with Yorkshire at Emirates Old Trafford.
Liam Livingstone and Glen Chapple will be mindful of changing a winning line-up, so it would be no surprise to see the same team feature live on Sky Sports.
They will have to make at least one change on Friday after England star Jos Buttler was yesterday made available to face Yorkshire.
Last time out, Leicestershire hammered Birmingham Bears by 100 runs at Edgbaston on Friday having racked up a total of 229-5, including 113 off 46 balls for all-rounder Ben Raine.
They had beaten Northamptonshire on opening night before losing matches against Notts and Durham.
The Foxes have posted scores of 219-6, 180-9 and that aforementioned 229-5. The first was against Northants, and it was chasing.
They have plenty of power in their batting line-up, including the likes of Raine, Cameron Delport, captain Colin Ackermann and Mark Cosgrove.
Their overseas duo are Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi and Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Abbas, while ex-Red Rose Academy spinner Callum Parkinson will be a danger.
After losing at Liverpool early on in last summer’s Blast, the Lightning gained revenge at Grace Road with a thrilling last ball victory as they defended 174.
Jos Buttler underpinned Lancashire’s 173-5 with 57 off 40 balls, while Liam Livingstone and Dane Vilas contributed 30 and 32.
Despite losing three wickets in the first nine overs of their chase, the Foxes had 80 on the board and enhanced their chances through fourth-wicket pair Mark Cosgrove and Aadil Ali.
Cosgrove, batting with a runner having been struck on the knee, led the way with 77 not out off 58 and Ali added 35 as they took the target to 14 off the last over.
Ryan McLaren went for four off the first ball before expertly closing out the game
WHAT THEY SAID:
There seems to be some folk who don't know who Toby Lester is. By the end of the week, with two games on Sky, that may just change.
Lester has made a stunning start to life in Lancashire’s T20 team, taking six wickets in three matches, including 4-25 in Saturday’s win over Derbyshire.
And the left-arm fast bowler, who was cheered by a small, vocal and pretty well lubricated section of the crowd on Saturday, revealed: “There were a few people behind me getting my name wrong, calling me Tony instead of Toby!
“We just want to keep taking each game as it comes.
“We are certainly shaping up very nicely in every department. There are people putting in performances that are getting us over the line.”
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