Match Preview: Lancashire Lightning v Durham
Lancashire could qualify for the quarter-finals with a win tomorrow (Friday) evening
Vitality Blast, North Group
Friday July 18, 2021, 6.30pm
Emirates Old Trafford
Ahead of this crucial penultimate North Group fixture with fellow contenders Durham, the Lightning are fourth in the table on 12 points from 12 games.
With a top four finish the aim in the group, Durham sit fifth on 11 points from 12 - the same haul as Birmingham Bears in sixth place. Nobody else is in contention below that.
So, should Lancashire beat Durham tomorrow, a defeat for the Bears at home to Worcestershire Rapids would be enough to seal qualification with a game still remaining.
A defeat against Durham would leave the Red Rose having to beat Yorkshire in their final game at Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow evening and hope results go their way elsewhere when the rest of the group concludes on Sunday afternoon.
Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Parkinson have all been named in England’s squad for their three-match T20 series with Pakistan, which starts at Trent Bridge tomorrow.
Livingstone is out of isolation having been caught up in England’s recent Coronavirus problems, while Buttler returns to action following a calf injury suffered during last month’s Sri Lanka T20 series.
Mahmood and Parkinson have both been rewarded by England for their excellent performances in the one-day series against Pakistan having been called in at late notice to cover the aforementioned Coronavirus issues.
Mahmood claimed nine wickets in three games as England won 3-0, scooping the player of the series award, while Parkinson chipped in with five wickets.
Brydon Carse played in the same series, but he has not made the T20 squad and should be available to Durham. Ben Stokes has been rested by England and thus won’t be available tomorrow.
Durham’s group campaign has been a story of two halves.
They made a flying start by winning four out of their first six games, a run including just one defeat and a No Result. They beat Lancashire at Emirates Riverside in that run.
Since then, coach James Franklin’s side only won one of their following seven games to slip from a position of significant strength to outside the all important top four.
Last time out, they were beaten by Derbyshire at the Riverside last Friday, failing to defend a target of 180.
Captain Cameron Bancroft, their Australian overseas player leads the way with 266 runs and is one of four players to have topped 200 runs. Sean Dickson, Graham Clark (Jordan’s brother) and South African overseas David Bedingham are the others.
The loss of seam bowling all-rounder Brydon Carse to England’s new look ODI squad has hurt them, but fellow seamer Matty Potts is their leading wicket-taker with 14 wickets.
They have only ever reached Finals Day once, in 2016 when they were beaten finalists by Northamptonshire.
Durham won last season’s clash between the two counties at Emirates Old Trafford, a game in which now injured opener Alex Lees scored 67 before Potts claimed three wickets in the second over to undermine the Lightning’s pursuit of 158.
They were bowled out for just 83 but went on to reach Finals Day.
Lancashire slipped from 51-0 in the sixth over of the clash at Emirates Riverside last month to only post 151-6, with Liam Livingstone top-scoring with 65 off 54 balls.
Unfortunately, nobody else made it beyond 25 - a score posted by Finn Allen and Steven Croft.
Matty Potts claimed three wickets with his seamers.
In reply, Durham raced out of the blocks and almost put the game to bed as David Bedingham and Graham Clark shared 76 for the first wicket inside seven overs.
Bedingham crashed 58 of 39 balls and claimed the man-of-the-match award.
When he was out to Liam Livingstone, Durham were 110-3 in the 12th over. Cameron Bancroft saw his side home with 14 balls to spare with an unbeaten 29.
What they said:
Former Durham batsman Keaton Jennings is hoping Lancashire’s home win against Northamptonshire last Friday can be the spark they need to begin a last gasp bid for Blast silverware.
Jennings, a finalist with Durham in 2016, is hoping to make it third time lucky with the Lightning having lost in the semi-finals in two of the last three years.
"Every game is full on for the next week, and this one is clearly crucial,” said Jennings as Lancashire end the Blast group stages and next week begin their Royal London one-day Cup campaign.
“We need to make sure we win this and the Roses clash.
“We certainly don't want to be losing another one of those! It's two big games in the whole spectrum of our season.
“Hopefully the win against Northants was a turning point for us, and we have to put in two really good performances this weekend to make sure that’s the case.”
With thanks to match sponsors, C&C Insurance.