A closer look: Durham
The inside track on Lancashire Lightning's first Vitality Blast opponents at Emirates Old Trafford
Finals Days: 2 (2008, 2016)
Coach: James Franklin – The New Zealander served as an assistant under his compatriot Daniel Vettori in the Big Bash for the Brisbane Heat and is in his first Blast season with Durham. Will be hoping for better fortune after the weather denied Durham a place in the knockout stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup earlier this summer.
Captain: Cameron Bancroft – Bancroft has proved his doubters wrong with an impressive stint three months in his Durham career. The Australian arrived in England under a cloud, but has excelled at the crease, allowing his batting to do the talking. In the absence of Bancroft for the start of the tournament, Irish international Stuart Poynter has taken over captaincy duties.
Overseas signings: Cameron Bancroft (Australia), D’Arcy Short (Australia).
The Narrative: Durham were one of the surprise packages in the Vitality Blast last season, finishing second in the North Group as they reached the quarter-finals, only to be defeated by Sussex. With the added power of Short and Bancroft into the line-up and a savvy bowling attack expect Durham to be at least in contention once again for the knockout stages.
Star Man: D’Arcy Short – Durham pulled off a coup last year with the signing of Imran Tahir. They’ve done it again with Short. The powerful 28-year-old was the leading run scorer and the BBL Player of the Year in the 2018/19 season, achieving the feat for the second year in a row for the Hobart Hurricanes.
Mr Consistency: Chris Rushworth – Although he didn’t quite get the wickets that he normally collects in the Championship, Rushworth was excellent in the Blast last term. His economy rate of 7.58 across 13 games, bowling in the powerplay highlighted his importance to the team. There are not many bowlers more reliable than Rushworth in the county game.
Under the radar: Ben Raine – Durham will likely not see a great deal of Ben Stokes during the Blast, but in Raine they have a solid replacement. Raine has been impressive since his return to the Riverside with the ball in the Championship. The all-rounder will be expected to play a significant part in Durham’s push for the knockout stage in both disciplines.
Killer stat: Before the 2019 Blast, only one Durham player has scored a century in T20 cricket – Paul Collingwood in 2017 against Worcestershire at New Road.
Buy your Vitality Blast tickets
Don’t forget to buy your tickets to watch Lancashire Lightning in the first home T20 fixture of the summer against Durham as part of the Trafford Live family event, with adults from just £8 and kids from £1.
It’s going to be Trafford’s biggest family festival of the summer.