Match Preview: Lancashire vs Northamptonshire
Lancashire v Northamptonshire
Emirates Old Trafford
Wednesday April 24, 11am
Have you recovered yet?
A one-run win over Yorkshire at Emerald Headingley on Sunday defending 312, there could hardly have been a better way for Lancashire to get their first North Group win on the board.
But that good work needs to be built on against Northants.
Lancashire have five games remaining as they chase a top three finish in the table to secure knockout cricket, and it may be that, having lost the first two, they have to win four of them to achieve it.
After all, last year, no side advanced from either the North or the South with fewer than five wins.
Northants have the same lost two, won one record as Lancashire this season, but they are fifth in the table - a couple of places higher than their hosts - courtesy of a marginally superior net run-rate.
Whilst Lancashire were taking care of business ‘over the hill’ on Sunday, Northants were hammering Warwickshire at Wantage Road.
Glen Chapple and Dane Vilas will no doubt be tempted to stick with a winning side, but it would also be no surprise to see them opt for an extra spinner to play alongside Matthew Parkinson and Glenn Maxwell.
After Friday’s defeat against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, Head Coach Chapple did say that he was also hoping that some of his injured seamers - Tom Bailey (hip) amongst them - would not be too far away from returning to fitness.
But Liam Hurt made a hugely encouraging debut against Yorkshire to ease some of the pressure in that regard.
Northants finished seventh in the North last season, winning two of their eight matches. That was one place below the Red Rose, who won three.
This season, they started with away defeats to Durham and Derbyshire last week before beating the Bears at home on Easter Sunday, a victory inspired by their short-term overseas signing Jason Holder
The West Indies captain was one of four Steelbacks to post fifties in their commanding 358-6 having been inserted.
Captain Alex Wakely (50), Rob Keogh (69) and Adam Rossington (68) all helped recover from 76-3 in the eleventh over, but Holder’s unbeaten 60 was the most powerful effort, hitting three sixes in 31 balls.
Holder then struck three times in seven miserly overs as Warwickshire fell to 164 all out inside 35 overs.
Former Lancashire duo Nathan Buck and Luke Procter are in line to face their former county, while towering former Zimbabwe Test fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani, 22, is one to keep an eye on, as is 21-year-old South African wicketkeeper batsman Ricardo Vasconcelos.
Muzarabani is a Kolpak player, while Vasconcelos has a Portuguese passport.
Luke Procter hit an unbeaten 43 off 38 balls and hit the winning runs with a ball to spare as Northants successfully chased 280 at Wantage Road last May.
A topsy turvy game saw Lancashire post 279-8 thanks to an unbeaten 83 for Dane Vilas, 69 for Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies’ 59.
The Red Rose, who elected to bat, would have hoped for more having been 105-1 in the 19th over and later 161-3 in the 30th.
In reply, Northants had the game pretty much wrapped up at 154-1 in the 25th over, with Josh Cobb (54) and Richard Levi, who went on to post 90, sharing 113 inside 17 overs for the first wicket.
But they later slipped from 194-2 in the 34th over to 199-5 in the 38th, only for Procter to steady the ship and later secure four runs needed off the last over.
It was Lancashire’s second defeat from their first three matches of the group stage, an identical position to which they now find themselves in ahead of tomorrow’s fixture.
WHAT THEY SAID
Steven Croft praised young guns Josh Bohannon, Rob Jones and debutant Liam Hurt for their key roles in Sunday’s win over Yorkshire and says the Red Rose can’t wait to get going again tomorrow.
While in-form Croft underpinned Lancashire’s recovery from 116-4 to 311-6 with a measured 97, Bohannon and Jones backed him up superbly with more aggressive maiden fifties.
Seamer Hurt then struck once on his debut for the county in a superb penultimate over as Yorkshire chased.
Yorkshire needed 21 off two overs with three wickets in hand, and Hurt only conceded five runs.
“With the likes of Jos, Livvy and Al out of the team, lads have stepped up,” said Croft, who also hit 110 in defeat against Notts on Friday.
“Josh and Jonesy played brilliantly (against Yorkshire). They paced the innings really well.”
“Liam’s was a brilliant over. Every credit. You wouldn’t have thought it was his first game for Lancs. He’s been there and thereabouts, and he took his chance.
“When you are winning, you can’t wait for that next game.
“We’re back at home against Northants, and we want to get that second win under our belts.
“It’s been a packed week, but these games come thick and fast. We’ll dust ourselves down and go again.”
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