Match Preview: Hampshire v Lancashire
Lancashire remain unbeaten in the Royal London Cup, though were frustrated on Wednesday as another opportunity for victory passed them by - and through no fault of their own.
Royal London one-day Cup, Group A
Sunday August 1, 2021, 11am
Tom Bailey and co had made a positive start to their third of eight group clashes, against Kent at Beckenham, before rain hit to force a No Result.
The Red Rose were at a healthy 71-0 after 14.5 overs, with Keaton Jennings 24 and Josh Bohannon 39.
A win would have taken them top of the Group A table.
Instead, they are third on five points from three games. Durham are second on five from four and with a marginally better net run-rate. Worcestershire are top on six points having won all of their three games so far.
All teams are bidding for a top three finish in the group for knockout qualification.
The next opportunity for victory comes tomorrow against 2018 champions Hampshire, who also made the last final in 2019 only to be beaten by Somerset on that occasion.
Hampshire have won one, lost one and had a No Result from their three games. They were washed out at Middlesex yesterday.
Lancashire continue to be without captain Dane Vilas. He remains with the Northern Superchargers in the Hundred to cover the uncertainty surrounding their injured skipper Francois du Plessis, who has missed the early stages of that competition with continued issues surrounding a concussion injury suffered earlier this year.
Hampshire are aiming to win this competition, in its various guises, for the fifth time in the last 17 seasons.
They won the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy (2005), the Friends Provident Trophy (2009), the Clydesdale Bank 40 (2012) and the Royal London Cup (2018).
In 2019, they beat Lancashire in the semi-final at the Ageas Bowl to reach Lord’s, where they lost to Somerset. A year earlier, they had beaten Kent to lift the title.
In that 17-year period, the Southampton-based side have won the T20 Blast twice (2010 and 2012).
With the unavailability of James Vince due to the Hundred, Hampshire are being captained in 50-over cricket this summer by South African seamer Kyle Abbott.
Their team is a mixture of recognisable names and those making their way in the game.
One of the recognisable ones is recent signing Nick Gubbins, the top order batsman from Middlesex who has replaced the departed Sam Northeast.
Northeast scored 75 in the 2018 final win over Kent, yet parted ways with the county earlier this season.
Left-handed Gubbins scored an unbeaten 131 in victory over Sussex earlier this week having already scored a Championship century in his second game since moving from Middlesex at the start of the month.
Lancashire can inflict some revenge on tomorrow’s hosts, who won the 2019 semi-final - also at the Ageas Bowl - by four wickets chasing 242.
A nip and tuck May affair was ultimately settled by a 122 fourth-wicket partnership between captain James Vince (79) and Rilee Rossouw (85).
Hampshire had slipped to 23-3 as Saqib Mahmood did all of the damage. Unfortunately, they were unable to break the initial resistance of Vince and Rossouw, who later prospered to book a final meeting with Somerset.
The win was secured with an over to spare.
Both sides will look very different tomorrow given the Hundred inflated unavailability, but it will still be fiercely contested between two counties desperate for success in 50-over cricket this summer.
With both sides in contention for a top three finish, and this fixture marking the halfway stage in the group phase, it has the feeling of a pivotal fixture.
What they said:
Stand-in captain Tom Bailey is hoping to end Lancashire’s week-long 50-over road trip in style to put them on course for the knockouts.
Lancashire won against Gloucestershire at Bristol on Sunday, claimed a point from Kent at Beckenham on Wednesday and head to Southampton bidding for win number two in eight days.
It would be their third in four games overall.
“We’ve lost a lot of key white ball players, but it shows the strength in depth in our squad that we can still produce performances,” said Bailey, the fast bowler who is keeping the hot seat warm in place of Dane Vilas.
“It was a bit of 50-50 game at Sedbergh, but it was top drawer at Bristol.
“We were hoping for that against Kent, but eventually the rain came.
“Sedbergh was a kickstarter, and at Bristol you could tell the boys were full of confidence because of that game.
“Fingers crossed, we can come away with a win on Sunday and we’re in the driver’s seat with three games out of the last four at home.”