Match Preview: Lancashire vs Worcestershire Rapids
Lancashire v Worcestershire Rapids
Royal London One-Day Cup, North Group
Emirates Old Trafford
Wednesday April 17, 11am
Lancashire’s bid to reach Lord’s kicks off against last season’s semi-finalists.
Worcestershire were beaten by Kent at New Road, who in turn were then beaten by Hampshire in the Home of Cricket showpiece.
But Worcestershire were able to make up for that disappointment by winning the T20 Blast later in the summer, and they have been the most consistent limited overs side in county cricket for the last couple of seasons.
They have reached the semi-finals of this competition for the last two seasons, added to a quarter-final finish in 2016.
However, the buoyant Red Rose will be confident of getting off to a winning start, just as they did in the County Championship against Middlesex at the weekend.
Despite flashes of good play in one-day cricket, Lancashire have not reached the knockout stages since 2012.
Australian World Cup winner Glenn Maxwell will make his one-day debut for Lancashire having played in the Championship win at Middlesex.
One of the world’s best limited overs players, Maxwell is a three-dimensional cricketer - a hugely exciting batsman, a fielder of the highest order and an extremely useful off-spinner, as his five-for against Middlesex proved.
He will be available for at least the first half of the group stage before his preparations begin for this summer’s World Cup.
Matthew Parkinson is fit again and in contention after missing out on the opening Championship game following a nasty jaw injured suffered on tour in Dubai last month, but Alex Davies is out having been struck on the left index finger whilst keeping against Middlesex. Davies will see the Club's hand specialist later this week.
Jimmy Anderson is in line for his first One-Day appearance for nearly two years.
Worcestershire will field New Zealand batsman Hamish Rutherford as their early season overseas player.
The left-hander, who will be replaced by Australian Callum Ferguson - he got married a few days ago - in early May, scored a century in their Championship win over Leicestershire at the weekend.
Club captain Joe Leach is still not fully fit after missing most of last season with a back injury, and inventive wicketkeeper batsman Ben Cox captained them at Leicester.
South African seamer Wayne Parnell converted his overseas deal last year into a Kolpak contract for this, while Riki Wessels has signed from Notts and will be a particularly big player for them at the top of the batting order in white ball cricket.
Alex Gidman is their new coach after a winter reshuffle saw Kevin Sharp move upstairs (Head of Player and Coaches Development) following the latter’s success in the Blast in 2018.
Moeen Ali, like Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler, is at the IPL.
Worcestershire won a group stage thriller at New Road last May, with Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten 102 the key in helping to chase down 255 in a rain-affected 48-over clash.
Karl Brown hit 48 and Liam Livingstone 67 as the Red Rose, who were inserted, posted 254-9.
Joe Mennie and Keaton Jennings then shared five wickets as the visitors took control, with Worcester slipping to 93-6 after 18 overs in reply.
But veteran Mitchell, from number four in the order, hit a superb century off 118 balls.
He shared 58 for the seventh wicket with Ed Barnard (28) and an unbeaten 104 inside 18 overs with captain Leach, who hit 42 not out to seal a three-wicket win with a ball to spare.
The result was a hammer blow to Lancashire’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.
WHAT THEY SAID
Dane Vilas is hoping overseas star Glenn Maxwell can not only win games but help with the development of his team-mates’ limited overs games.
Maxwell is in sparkling 50-over form, having hit 71, 98 and 70 in his last three innings, all ODIs for Australia against Pakistan in the UAE late last month.
His last match was his 100th career ODI appearance.
Lancashire Captain Vilas said of the 30-year-old Melburnian: “When you sign an overseas player, you look for guys who add value to your squad not only on the field but off the field.
“And he can help anyone.
“That’s from the younger guys to the older guys.
“He’s captained now in the Big Bash, and he can certainly help me. He’s a great character.
“He will help the batters and the fielders in every single way.
“The way he’s playing at the moment, he’s in great form.”
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