PREVIEW: Lightning v Bears
MATCH PREVIEW: Lancashire Lightning v Birmingham Bears, Vitality Blast
Read our match preview ahead of the Vitality Blast clash between Lancashire Lightning and Birmingham Bears at Emirates Old Trafford.
Lancashire v Birmingham
Friday 10 August
Emirates Old Trafford
How quickly things can change!
After Tuesday’s nightmare defeat against Durham at Old Trafford when Lancashire failed to get six off the last over with four wickets in hand, the Lightning went and knocked over the old enemy for the second time this campaign at Emerald Headingley last night.
Lancashire’s quarter-final hopes have been revived significantly as a result of their first win in five outings.
They sit third on 13 points from 11 games, with Yorkshire fourth on 12 from 11. Birmingham are fifth with 11, while Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have 10 apiece.
Lancashire face Birmingham in the first of two clashes in six days, with the pair meeting again in front of the TV cameras at Edgbaston next Wednesday.
Sandwiched in between, Lancashire travel to Durham on Sunday.
Birmingham started this season’s Blast positively with two wins from their first three North Group outings, but fell away.
However, they have won three of their last four games to give themselves a chance of qualifying ahead of the group’s final week.
Ian Bell has been their standout player so far with 525 runs from 11 appearances, with one hundred and four fifties, and is the leading run-scorer in the competition.
Captain Grant Elliott, the former New Zealand international all-rounder, is their leading wicket-taker with 17 with his seamers. He is the second leading wicket-taker in the competition.
Last night, 2017 finalists Birmingham beat Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston, completing the double over them in the process.
The Bears crept home chasing 164 in extraordinary fashion in a must win final group game for both counties last August.
Jos Buttler’s measured 58 underpinned Lancashire’s competitive 163-4 before openers Ed Pollock (49), Dom Sibley (53) and Hose (49) took the chase to 145-1 in the 16th over.
But Lancashire’s trio of spinners, Matt Parkinson, Arron Lilley and Liam Livingstone shared five wickets as the Bears slipped to 160-8, including the loss of four wickets for two runs to heighten tensions.
Unfortunately, the Lightning had too much to do and were knocked out as a result.
WHAT THEY SAID
Last night’s man-of-the-match Karl Brown said: “To get the win was brilliant, but we have to kick on now.
“We have another big game against Birmingham that we really need to win as well.
“We’ve got to put this one behind us as quickly as possible, while taking the positives and looking to do the same.
“I’m not sure what we’ll need to qualify. We’ve just got to look at winning tomorrow and take whatever comes after that.”