Match Preview: Lancashire Lightning vs Notts Outlaws
Liverpool CC prepares to host three consecutive Lancashire fixtures, starting with tomorrow's Vitality Blast match against Notts Outlaws
Lancashire’s first game on home soil this summer sees them take on a side coached by a man synonymous with Red Rose success at this venue - Peter Moores.
Moores coached the Red Rose during their 2011 County Championship title-winning season when Aigburth was home away from home.
And he is now in charge at Trent Bridge, where he has endured trials and tribulations of late.
Notts were relegated in last season’s County Championship and were badly beaten in the semi-final of the Vitality Blast when ideally placed to beat Worcestershire at Edgbaston.
But both Notts and Lancashire come into this fixture well placed in the North Group, having won two and had a No Result from their first three matches.
In fact, it is an early top of the table clash, with Notts just top courtesy of a superior net run-rate.
That haul includes victories yesterday. Lancashire beat Derbyshire in a thriller at Yorkshire’s Emerald Headingley, defending a 179 target to win by four runs.
Notts, meanwhile, chased down 191 to beat the White Rose county by six wickets with four balls to spare at Trent Bridge.
Glen Chapple and Dane Vilas have named the same side for all three matches so far, and there is no obvious reason for them to change for the fourth.
Liam Livingstone and Saqib Mahmood continue to be unavailable having been named as reserves for England’s forthcoming T20 series against Australia at Southampton, starting on Friday.
Jos Buttler has been named in the main squad having been rested from the Pakistan series following Test duty.
Nottinghamshire came into this competition as one of the favourites to win it, something they did back in 2017.
Not affected by England call-ups and able to call upon an overseas player in experienced Australian all-rounder Dan Christian, the Outlaws are highly rated.
Yes, they have had their issues in the last 12 months or so, but they remain a formidable outfit, highlighted by some enviable batting power.
Alex Hales will open the batting, while Ben Duckett and Joe Clarke, a centurion in victory at Durham on Saturday, are two players the national selectors have followed closely.
Chris Nash, wicketkeeper Tom Moores, four-day captain Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel and Blast skipper Christian make up the rest of their batting order.
With the ball, they rely on the likes of Jake Ball, off-spinner Matt Carter, Patel and Luke Fletcher.
Notts have secured wins over Durham and Yorkshire so far, while their opening night abandonment came against the latter opponents at Headingley.
In the most recent win over Yorkshire at Trent Bridge yesterday, Duckett hit a superb 86 not out after Fletcher had claimed 5/43, including three wickets in the last over of the Vikings innings.
Lancashire won last season’s only meeting between the two sides, in front of the Sky cameras at Emirates Old Trafford in early August.
Shortly before he swapped Notts for the Red Rose, Luke Wood gave the visitors a flying start by bowling Alex Davies and Steven Croft in the first over of the game (2/2).
But the Lightning recovered thanks to brilliant duo Glenn Maxwell and captain Dane Vilas, who shared 107 for the fifth wicket to advance from 35/4, eventually posting 151/6.
Maxwell showed all of his class and flair in smashing 73 off 46 balls, while Vilas ably supported him with 46 off 36.
In reply, Notts fell only four runs short as this pulsating fixture went the hosts’ way.
Spin prospered, with Matthew Parkinson claiming three wickets and Liam Livingstone two, while seamers Richard Gleeson and James Faulkner also took two apiece as Notts were restricted to 148/9.
Australian overseas star Maxwell took a record four outfield catches to seal the man-of-the-match.
WHAT THEY SAID
Lancashire are riding the crest of a wave confidence wise, says captain Dane Vilas and in-form opener Alex Davies.
The Lightning are joint top of the embryonic North Group table on five points alongside tomorrow’s opponents Notts - both sides having won two from three games so far.
Both have also been regulars in knockout stages of the Blast in recent seasons, with Lancashire triumphant in 2015 and Notts in 2017.
And Vilas is hoping the Red Rose can capitalise on an encouraging start to the 2020 campaign.
He said: “We love this competition. We’ve done well in it in the past, and hopefully we can continue.
“There have been some good results for us so far - two from three and one rained out. We are looking forward to keeping going and using this momentum.”
Davies echoed the skipper’s thoughts.
He said: “We’re playing some great cricket, and we’ve got some young players who’ve not played a lot of T20 cricket and are sticking their hands up - Liam Hurt, Danny Lamb, Tom Hartley.
“With the experience of the likes of Keaton, Crofty and myself, it’s balancing it quite well.”
Davies has posted scores of 65 and 82 so far in Vitality Blast.
“Whether I’ve played 100 games or not or whether or not we’ve got overseas players, I’d still try and do the best I could,” he said.
“At the minute it’s going well, so I’ll try and make whilst I can.
“The games come thick and fast, but we like that when we’re playing well.
“Notts are a good team, but we’re playing well as well. I’ve no doubts, if we play our best cricket then no one will stand in our way.”