Match Preview: Worcestershire vs Lancashire
Worcestershire v Lancashire, Royal London one-day Cup, North Division
Sunday May 27, 2018
Blackfinch New Road
Lancashire and Worcestershire both suffered frustration on Friday (25 May), courtesy of a No Result and defeat respectively, meaning tomorrow’s clash takes on huge importance - more so for the visitors.
The Red Rose were washed out against Warwickshire at Stanley Park following an encouraging start with the bat, while the Rapids were beaten on Duckworth Lewis by bottom side Durham.
Lancashire have played four, won one, lost two and had that aforementioned No Result. They sit fifth in the North Group table with three points. Worcestershire sit third with four points courtesy of two wins and a defeat.
The top three teams qualify for the knockout stages.
Tomorrow’s fixture is another 11am start.
Lancashire handed a first-team debut to all-rounder Josh Bohannon against Warwickshire, although he didn’t actually get on the field. Fingers crossed, he gets another chance to shine.
Graham Onions also came in for his first appearance of the competition without any involvement.
England all-rounder Moeen Ali will be available for the hosts having returned from the Indian Premier League.
Moeen will be hoping to put a disappointing winter with England behind him and regain his place in their Test team.
Worcestershire’s Australian overseas batsman Travis Head plays his final game before joining up with Australia’s one-day squad for their forthcoming one-day tour of England. He will return to county duty next month.
Head’s departure leaves compatriot Callum Ferguson as cover for the second half of the RL50, starting next week.
Worcestershire reached last season’s semi-finals and have proved to be a dangerous opponent again at the start of this season’s competition, topping 300 with the bat twice, including reaching 350 once.
Their batting unit, even without dangerous dasher Moeen, is formidable.
England Lions batsman Joe Clarke opens, while the likes of Travis Head, Brett D’Oliveira, wicketkeeper Ben Cox and Ross Whiteley add plenty of dynamism in the middle to lower order.
Their captain Joe Leach believes they are a side capable of topping 400 in an innings.
Their bowling is their weak suit, however, highlighted in Wednesday’s win over Yorkshire at Headingley when they almost lost defending 351.
Yorkshire were 258-6 after 42.5 overs and lost only by four runs, with the Rapids death bowling put under serious pressure.
At Emirates Old Trafford last May, Lancashire hammered the eventual North Group winners by 152 runs to keep their qualification hopes alive, something that did not eventuate.
Dane Vilas hit a superb unbeaten 83-ball 100 after Karl Brown had opened up with 63. When Brown departed, Lancashire, who elected to bat, were 136-4 after 27 overs with South African Vilas in the early stages of his innings.
But Jordan Clark came in at number seven shortly afterwards and smashed 79 not out off 58 balls to boost the total to an excellent 313-5.
It was the start of a special day for man-of-the-match Clark, whose ‘hit the bat hard’ seamers claimed a career best 4-34 from eight overs and reduced the away chase to 96-7. A brisk 30 down the order added some respectability to the total, finishing on 161 all out inside 35 overs.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Lancashire’s assistant coach Mark Chilton knows the Red Rose can ill-afford many more slip-ups if they are to finish in the top three.
“We are in a position now where we’ve got to be working towards winning three of the last four games at least,” he said.
“The situation gets laid out for you a little more clearly once you have less games left, and clearly Sunday is a bit of a must win game.
“When you’ve lost two of your first four games, you clearly need to start winning again soon.”