PREVIEW: Rapids v Lightning
MATCH PREVIEW: Worcestershire Rapids v Lancashire Lightning
Worcestershire v Lancashire, Vitality Blast
Sunday July 29, 2018
Blackfinch New Road, 2.30pm
Lancashire’s first match of the second half of the North Group campaign takes them to the West Midlands, where they tackle a Rapids side who beat them at Emirates Old Trafford earlier this month and sit alongside them at the top of the table.
Worcestershire and Lancashire have been flying high in the Blast so far, and this is first v second.
Both sides sit on 10 points from seven games, with Lancashire leading the way courtesy of a better net run-rate.
Lancashire lost against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last night, while Worcestershire won away at Northamptonshire in record-breaking fashion.
That aforementioned opening night win at Emirates Old Trafford was the first of four on the trot for a Rapids side, who lost their next two before last night.
After losing that game, the Lightning went on to win their next five matches, a run ended at Trent Bridge.
A high-scoring venue, we could be in for some fireworks tomorrow afternoon.
Keaton Jennings drops out of the squad as he joins up with the England Test squad for the India series.
Worcestershire are a rapidly (pardon the pun) improving white ball side. Semi-finals in each of the last two seasons of the Royal London one-day Cup, they have impressed so far in this season’s Blast with a young and dynamic outfit.
They finished second-bottom in the North last year with only three wins from 14, a haul bettered immediately this summer.
Last night, the Rapids beat Northants by nine wickets at Wantage Road in remarkable fashion. Chasing 188, they got there in just 13.1 overs having reached halfway at 162-0!
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill smashed 100 off 35 balls, the second fastest century in English domestic cricket and the fourth fastest of all time.
Tomorrow marks the last of the eight games the Kiwi initially signed to play at New Road, with Australian Callum Ferguson set to replace him.
Fledgling seamer Pat Brown has taken 15 wickets and is the leading wicket-taker in the competition.
Worcestershire prevailed in a high-scoring thriller to win by six wickets with one ball to spare at Emirates Old Trafford earlier this month.
A crucial 67-run partnership off 41 balls between skipper Brett D’Oliveira and Ross Whiteley pulled the game around for the Rapids who were 118-4 in the 13th over chasing 189 after the Red Rose amassed 188-6.
Although Whiteley perished in the last over for 28, Ed Barnard hit the only ball he faced for four from the fifth ball to clinch victory.
Lancashire had produced a strong performance with the bat, led by Keaton Jennings’ half-century, to post a good total on the same pitch used for the T20 international between England and India two days earlier.
Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone got the innings off to a flying start with an opening partnership of 58 off 40 balls after winning the toss.
With seven required from the final over, Whiteley fell to Jordan Clark, but D’Oliveira was still there at the end unbeaten on 37 as Barnard struck the winning runs.
WHAT THEY SAID
Lancashire stand-in captain Dane Vilas will be hoping his side bounce back immediately from last night’s 16-run defeat on DLS Notts.
The Red Rose started their chase of 197 in bright fashion, reaching 29-0 after three overs before rain revised the target to 156 from 15, only for Lancashire to lose Alex Davies with the first ball following the resumption and finish on 139-8.
“The rain break came at an unfortunate time because we had some momentum, but credit to them, how they played,” said Vilas. “We’re disappointed, but it was a great game of cricket. Unfortunately, we couldn't get over the line.”