Match Preview: Lightning vs Durham
We preview tomorrow's Vitality Blast clash at Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire’s campaign was subject to a false start at Leicestershire last night, with the clash ending as a No Result due to rain, with not a ball bowled between the Foxes and the Lightning.
Now it is Durham who visit Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow afternoon, a team who secured the only result in the country last night, beating Northamptonshire Steelbacks by seven runs at Emirates Riverside.
Nottinghamshire and champions Worcestershire also managed to get underway on Thursday night, with the hosts winning at Trent Bridge.
Tomorrow’s clash will have a distinct Australian flavour about it, with Lancashire’s overseas duo Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner coming up against Durham’s powerful opening batsman D’Arcy Short. Faulkner and Short are Big Bash team-mates at Hobart Hurricanes.
Last season, Durham won at Emirates Old Trafford and Lancashire won at Emirates Riverside.
There is nothing new to report following last night’s washout.
Liam Livingstone (intercostal) and Saqib Mahmood (abdominal) remain sidelined, although the latter is back in training alongside Tom Bailey (knee).
Keaton Jennings is in line to face his former county, but Graham Onions is being rested following a busy schedule of County Championship cricket during the last couple of months.
Seamer Toby Lester is back with the club following a recent loan spell with Warwickshire and will look to build on some impressive displays in last season’s Blast.
Liam Hurt (dislocated knee) and Danny Lamb (neck) are fit again and in contention.
Durham captain Cameron Bancroft misses the game having linked up with Australia and their A team in Southampton for this week’s intra-squad Ashes warm-up fixture.
Durham were one of the surprise packages in last season’s Blast, finishing second in the North Group as they reached the quarter-finals, only to be defeated by beaten finalists Sussex at home.
Short could light up the competition. For the last two seasons of Big Bash cricket in Australia, he has been the leading run-scorer and the player of the tournament. He also bowls some handy left-arm wrist spin, which could be particularly effective at Old Trafford.
He top-scored with 46 in Durham’s 148-4 against Northants last night before taking two wickets as Northants responded with 141-9.
All-action all-rounder Ben Raine, who returned to Durham colours from Leicestershire over the winter, is one to keep an eye on, as are young seam duo Brydon Carse and Matty Potts. Raine can be explosive with the bat and bowls handy seamers.
Durham narrowly missed out on qualification for the knockout stages of the Royal London one-day Cup earlier this season, with rain ending their hopes as they chased victory in the final group game against Yorkshire at Headingley in May. Lancashire profited as a result and went on to reach the semi-finals.
Durham are very much in the promotion race in the County Championship Division Two having won four of 10 games so far. They are one point behind third-placed Northants.
Lancashire scored a thumping 65-run win at Emirates Riverside last August as they defended a target of 144 to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
The Lightning’s eighth win from 13 group matches was in doubt very early on as they slipped to 6-2, only for Alex Davies to underpin a recovery to 143-6 with a measured 64. Steven Croft added an important 30 and hit one of only two sixes in the innings.
In reply, Durham, including England bowler Mark Wood, were overwhelmed and bowled out for just 78 inside 16 overs, led by three wickets for Matthew Parkinson and two wickets apiece for miserly trio James Faulkner - he also 18 not out with the bat - Toby Lester and Afghanistan spinner Zahir Khan.
Both sides made it into the quarter-finals, with Lancashire going on to Finals Day.
WHAT THEY SAID
Rob Jones, who has impressed in Championship and one-day cricket, is hoping to continue an excellent summer by starring in T20, a format which he has very little previous experience of.
Jones, the 23-year-old ex-England under-19s batsman, played two Blast games in 2017 without batting or bowling.
He knows the Lightning side, which he believes has all bases covered, will be a hard one to break into. But he is up for the challenge.
“I’d love to play in the T20 and give it a good crack,” he said. “I love playing for this club, and every game I play for it I’ll cherish. I love wearing the Red Rose. No matter what it is, one-day, T20 or red-ball cricket, I’ll give it my best shot.
“The ultimate goal is to get to Finals Day and to win it again, like we did in 2015.
“I’m not too sure what team will be selected. I think it’s really open. Whatever team they go with, you have to support them, whether you are in the squad or not. You have to support the team.
“We’ve got such a strong squad and strength in depth as well and also a lot of experience, so hopefully we can perform, which will be great.
“James Faulkner and Glenn Maxwell have been a part of a World Cup final in 2015, so they have a lot of white-ball experience and are very good to talk to about that. They are two very good men to have in your team.
“Steven Croft’s played so much, and he captained the 2015 team.
“The guys in the changing room can bounce off that, and Matt Parkinson is an outstanding T20 bowler, as he’s shown in the last two years.
“I think we have all departments covered, so it will be a tough team to get into. But you just have to do your best and try. That’s the way it is.
“We know we’re pretty strong at the T20 format, so hopefully we can get a few wins.”
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.