Match Preview: Bears vs Lightning
Glen Chapple's men travel to Birmingham tomorrow after last night's Game of Roses washout at Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire’s fabulous start to this summer’s Blast has not been without frustration.
But, rather than defeats, that frustration has come in the form of the weather, and last night at Emirates Old Trafford was no different with a No Result against Yorkshire ruining one of the nights of the summer.
The Lightning have now had three rained off matches, added to five victories.
But at least the rain has not loosened Lancashire’s grip on top spot in the North Group, and they remain firmly on course for a top four finish and a place in next month’s quarter-finals.
Birmingham actually played last night at Edgbaston and lost against Nottinghamshire by 28 runs on Duckworth Lewis Stern.
They have now only won two of eight matches, losing four, and sit outside the top four places in the North.
Against Notts, the Bears posted only 119-9 before Notts were 86-2 in reply after 11 overs when rain hit.
You could almost copy and paste this section from previous previews!
Pitch conditions are the only obvious reason why Dane Vilas and Glen Chapple would change a side who have won the last four times they have taken the park.
Birmingham, meanwhile, suffered an injury blow this time last week, with Australian overseas all-rounder Ashton Agar ruled out of the competition due to an ankle injury.
Agar suffered a small fracture and ligament damage to his right ankle during the warm-up for last Sunday’s clash with Yorkshire at Headingley.
He has been replaced by off-spinning all-rounder Chris Green, an Australian who has impressed for Sydney Thunder and on the T20 circuit around the world.
He will be available for the remainder of the group stages and debuted last night. Matthew Parkinson has played against him in Sydney grade cricket in recent winters.
Champions in 2014 - they beat Lancashire in the final - the Bears failed to make it out of the group stage last year and have made a poor start to this campaign, winning two of their eight matches so far.
The Bears, captained by New Zealander Jeetan Patel, have drafted in another off-spinner in Chris Green, as mentioned above, as a replacement for injured Ashton Agar.
Birmingham have also had two No Results added to their four defeats, while they also tied against Yorkshire at Emerald Headingley last Sunday as both sides posted 177-4.
Their leading run-scorer so far is England Lions batsman Sam Hain, who has hit two fifties in a haul of 315 runs from seven innings.
Highly-rated 19-year-old quick Henry Brookes is leading their wickets’ list with 10, but ex-West Indies fast bowler Fidel Edwards is close behind on nine.
Edwards, 37, is nearly twice the age of Brookes, but is still bounding in having moved on loan from Hampshire purely for this competition.
Lancashire, having already qualified for the quarter-finals, were soundly beaten by the Bears on an Edgbaston turner last August.
The Lightning’s final group game - they went on to beat Kent in the quarter-finals and then lose the semi-final back at Edgbaston the following month - saw them bowled out for 102 having elected to bat.
Seamer Oliver Hannon-Dalby starred with 4-20 from four overs, while medium pacers Aaron Thomason and Grant Elliott claimed two wickets apiece and spinners Jeetan Patel and Josh Poysden also struck once apiece and were miserly.
Danny Lamb’s 24 down the order was the only score above 13 in the Lightning innings.
In reply, Lancashire only bowled spin, with five men used - Croft, Lilley, Zahir, Watt and Parkinson.
But the Bears, for whom openers Ian Bell (34) and Ed Pollock (36) shared 68 inside 10 overs, chased down the runs for the loss of three wickets with 35 balls remaining.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Matthew Parkinson has spoken of his delight at being capped by Lancashire shortly before the Yorkshire game was rained off.
Parkinson has claimed 13 wickets from six appearances in this season’s Blast and was capped alongside another star of the T20 show, Australian all-all-rounder James Faulkner.
The 22-year-old leg-spinner is delighted by the Lightning’s start to the campaign and is confident they can build on it against Birmingham.
“It’s a moment I’ve dreamed of since I first played for Lancashire when I was 10-years-old,” he said.
“It’s not something you ever think’s going to happen, and I wasn’t expecting it.
“There were a few mutterings around the dressing room that someone was getting capped, and I’m over the moon.
“You don’t actually find out until you go to the pavilion. We saw Paul Allott (director of cricket) with a cap, and I thought it would be James Faulkner. But when we were told there were two caps, I did have a slight suspicion that it could be me.”
He went on: “It’s the first time in three years that I’ve been in a side that hasn’t had even a slight thought of losing.
“We do genuinely have all bases covered and don’t fear anyone.
“Obviously, having Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner helps that no end. But the local lads have been performing as well.
“It’s been a real team effort.
“Graham Onions summed it up on Twitter. He said, ‘Great skill, and the lads are really enjoying each other’s successes’. I think that’s the sign of a great team.
“Birmingham are a good team having just signed Chris Green and with Jeetan Patel and the like.”
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