Match Preview: Yorkshire Vikings vs Lancashire Lightning
Yorkshire Vikings v Lancashire Lightning
Vitality Blast, North Group
Monday September 14, 2020, 6.35pm
This promises to be one heck of an evening.
Both sides are in need of a victory, with Yorkshire’s need just that bit greater than Lancashire’s.
The two counties suffered defeat in their last outings in the East Midlands on Friday, Lancashire against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and Yorkshire against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.
Lancs failed to defend a target of 168 and Yorks failed to defend 189, losing off the last ball.
At least the Lightning have one more win under their belts - three from six games to Yorkshire’s two from six.
If the Vikings are unable to overcome the Red Rose county’s recent dominance in this fixture, they will have a mountain to climb in order to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The two sides play each other twice in four days this week, with the return clash at Emirates Old Trafford on Thursday. Both are being televised by Sky, so no live online stream will be available.
Both teams continue to affected by England availability. But not for much longer.
Lancashire will be without Saqib Mahmood as he is a reserve for the ODI series against Australia at Emirates Old Trafford, though he should return for Thursday’s home Roses clash at the same venue. Jos Buttler, however, is off to the Indian Premier League in the UAE later this week. Liam Livingstone returned to Lancashire on Friday night at Trent Bridge for his first domestic T20 appearance of the summer.
Keaton Jennings will miss the game through injury (calf) following Friday night's defeat at Trent Bridge where he required a runner whilst batting during the first innings. He did not field during the second innings. Richard Gleeson (back) is still out, but Steven Croft is likely to return after being ruled out of last week's T20 win over Derbyshire.
Yorkshire will be without Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid and Joe Root tomorrow due to ODI duty, though the White Rose hope each of the latter three will be available for Thursday. Bairstow, like Buttler, is set to take up IPL commitments, however.
Yorkshire are at the start of what they hope to be a new era in Twenty20 cricket.
Having only reached Finals Day twice and never won the Blast, they do not hide from the fact they have underachieved. But moves have been made to rectify that.
David Willey has been appointed as new captain, while England’s Dawid Malan was signed on a long-term contract from Middlesex over the winter.
Only last week, Malan was installed as the ICC’s newly ranked number one batsman in the world in terms of T20 cricket.
They are aiming to play with more freedom than they previously have done and have put a greater emphasis on role awareness this summer.
They have had to contend with England unavailability challenges - Willey didn’t start the competition and Malan has not yet featured - and they believe three wins from their last four games will seal qualification.
In their first six matches, they have claimed two wins added to two No Results and defeats against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and, on Friday, against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
They have beaten Derbyshire and Durham.
Openers Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Adam Lyth, Joe Root, who won’t be available tomorrow but is likely to be on Thursday, and Will Fraine have all contributed heavily with the bat so far.
Opener Lyth has hit three half-centuries in four Blast innings.
With the ball, new ball quick Matthew Fisher is one to keep an eye on, while leg-spinner Josh Poysden and young offie Jack Shutt are their spin options.
All-rounder Jordan Thompson has enjoyed a hugely impressive summer, particularly in the four-day Bob Willis Trophy, and is, like Fisher, turning into a cricketer of some repute.
Lancashire have only lost three Blast games against Yorkshire since the start of 2014, with the last of those coming in August 2017 at Emerald Headingley.
The Lightning have certainly had the better of the recent rivalry, although wet weather has played its part too, as it did for the most recent clash last August at Emirates Old Trafford, forcing a No Result.
We have to go back to last July for the last action between the two rivals, with Lancashire winning by nine runs at Headingley on the way to topping the North Group.
Having elected to bat, the Lightning posted a commanding 170-6. Dane Vilas top-scored with three sixes and as many fours in 43 off 24 balls, while Alex Davies, Liam Livingstone and Glenn Maxwell all chipped in with 25.
In reply, Saqib Mahmood and Steven Croft reduced the Vikings to 16-2 in reply before David Willey, Harry Brook and West Indian Nicholas Pooran all contributed to a recovery.
At 131-4 at the start of the 17th over with Pooran set at the crease, the game was very much in the balance.
But excellent Mahmood (3-33) bowled Pooran and trapped Dom Bess lbw, adding to the earlier dismissal of his good mate Tom Kohler-Cadmore, as the Vikings lost wickets all too regularly and finished on 161-9.
WHAT THEY SAID
Liam Livingstone believes the high stakes involved in this week’s Roses clashes will help compensate for the lack of the wonderful crowds these fixtures attract.
In normal circumstances, Emerald Headingley tomorrow and Emirates Old Trafford on Thursday would be a sea of colour and noise with sell out crowds certain.
But things are, unfortunately, not normal, and we are left with behind closed doors affairs.
However, with quarter-final qualification on the line for the two rivals, there will be no shortage of intensity and desire, according to the Lightning star all-rounder, who is back from England duty for the rest of the summer.
“No matter what the happens, there is the pressure of a Roses game, and it’s on TV as well,” said Livingstone ahead of the trip across the Pennines.
“It will be different without the noisy crowd. That’s something we will miss and something we really enjoy.
“But they are two games we massively want to win.
“We have a good record against them, and hopefully we can keep that up.
“Headingley is always somewhere we enjoy going, and over the last couple of years we’ve performed really well. Hopefully that continues.
“We have a massive week of cricket coming up, and hopefully it’s not the last one. Hopefully we have a quarter-final to play (afterwards).”
Livingstone played his first Blast game of the season against Notts on Friday and only his third in all having been a reserve member of England’s white ball squads for much of the last two months.
But he returned in impressive fashion, hitting 33 and taking 2-13 with his spinners.
“It’s nice to be back playing cricket,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in the England bubble - I’ve learnt a lot have enjoyed being around that environment for an extended period.
“But I really wanted to get back and play some cricket.
“With the season coming to the end, I’ve only played three games. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is.
“One of the good things to come out of it is that I’ve been able to bowl quite a bit in that environment, and that was something that felt really good against Notts.”