Match Preview: Vikings vs Lightning
Lightning head to Yorkshire for first Roses T20 of 2019
One of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures of season has arrived, and the Lightning head into it in buoyant mood having brushed aside Durham at Emirates Old Trafford in front of a bumper crowd.
Lancashire have already beaten Yorkshire this season, in a thrilling Royal London One-Day Cup clash at Emerald Headingley by one run in April.
In terms of Vitality Blast, Lancashire have won one and had a No Result from their opening two North Group fixtures while Yorkshire have played three so far, and have a win, a loss and a No Result to their name.
They beat Leicestershire at Grace Road last night, posting a mammoth 255-2, the second highest total in English T20 history.
This televised fixture is a sell out, with Headingley’s new Emerald Stand now in full operation.
Liam Livingstone (intercostal) and Saqib Mahmood (abdominal) are closing in on a return to first-team action. They both played in the second team earlier this week.
England World Cup winner Adil Rashid had been made available to Yorkshire pending fitness. The leg-spinning all-rounder has been playing through a shoulder injury for his country, but he has requested a longer period of rest and misses this fixture.
Yorkshire, by their own admission, are underachievers in Twenty20 cricket.
They have failed to reach the knockout stages since qualifying for Finals Day in 2016, only their second appearance in the showpiece occasion since the format was introduced back in 2003.
Lancashire, for example, have reached Finals Day on seven occasions.
The Vikings will field West Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran, who hit a blistering half-century in last night’s win at Leicester.
A rising star of the World Cup, the powerful left-hander has signed on at Headingley for the first five group games, and this is the fourth of them.
England Lions opening batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore will captain the side as Steve Patterson rests, while two-time England Test off-spinner Dom Bess is playing on loan from Somerset.
They were rained off in their first game against Nottinghamshire at Headingley on Friday, lost against Derbyshire at Chesterfield on Saturday and beat Leicestershire at Grace Road last night.
Yorkshire now hold the two highest innings totals in English T20 history - the highest being 260-4 against Northamptonshire at Headingley in 2017.
Lightning struck twice last year. They first of all beat the Vikings in a thrilling rain-affected 14-over game at Old Trafford in late July, defending a target of 177 to win by one run.
Liam Livingstone, Adam Lyth and Joe Root were the standout performers on a night dominated by the batsmen. Livingstone hit 79 off 37 balls for Lancashire before Lyth hit 60 off 26 and Test captain Root 51 not out off 22 to almost steal a win which looked not far off impossible.
In the return clash at Headingley in August, it was another high-scoring game.
David Willey smashed 80 off 43 balls to underpin an imposing 181-9, although James Faulkner was superb with three wickets to prevent significant damage after the hosts, who chose to bat, stumbled from 132-2 in the 13th over.
In reply, contributions all the way down won the day for Lancashire, with Karl Brown - 51 off 34 balls - and Arron Lilley (47 off 20) standing out.
Brown and Lilley have since left Old Trafford.
A thumping win was secured with six wickets in hand and 2.4 overs remaining as the Red Rose county pressed on to Edgbaston and Finals Day, eventually being knocked out in the semi-final by winners Worcestershire.
WHAT THEY SAID
This will be Steven Croft’s 23rd Roses T20 clash, and it is safe to say the novelty has not worn off and probably never will do for the veteran all-rounder.
Croft, 34, is enjoying an excellent limited overs summer, most recently including 65 not out at the top of the order in Sunday’s victory over Durham, and says he wants to continue performing for the county for as long as possible.
“There’s no better feeling than winning at Headingley. We’ve had a few recently, and it’s a special feeling,” he said, revealing confidence is sky high in the Lancashire camp.
“We don’t care how we do it, we want to get that win.
“Momentum is banded around a lot in T20 cricket, and it’s a good thing.
“A lot of people stuck their hands up against Durham, and hopefully they can against Yorkshire.
“With so many people contributing, I think it puts us in good stead. We usually have a few more games before the first Roses encounter, but we’re coming off the back of a great win. We’ll start afresh on Thursday and go from there.
“It’s been a massive season for me. The last two haven’t gone the way I wanted really, but having got a chance this year I wanted to take it.
“Walking into this season, the last year of my contract, I thought, ‘If it’s going to be my last one, I want to really enjoy it’. And I have done that.
“It’s been a great season personally, and hopefully it continues. But it’s about the team, most importantly, and I want to get those wins for the Red Rose.
“I want to carry on as long as possible, as long as I feel I can contribute. I feel like I’ve got a lot of miles left in the legs.”
Buy your Vitality Blast tickets
Don’t forget to buy your tickets to watch Lancashire Lightning in the second home Vitality Blast fixture of the summer against Worcestershire Rapids on Friday 26 July.