Match Preview: Lancashire v Sussex
Lancashire are very much in the hunt for two trophies, and now the quest for a third begins in the idyllic surroundings of Sedbergh
Royal London Cup, Group A
Friday July 23, 2021, 11am
The Red Rose are into the late season top group in the LV= Insurance County Championship and qualified for the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast.
Despite missing almost a couple of handfuls of senior players due to the Hundred, Mark Chilton and co are confident of success in a competition which will have a new look this summer.
All counties have been affected by Hundred call-ups to varying degrees, making the winner of the RL50 difficult to predict.
But, with the depth of talent available, Lancashire will start amongst the favourites. They warmed up with a commanding friendly victory over National Counties side Cumbria at Sedbergh on Tuesday, a game in which the hosts racked up 383-7 built around 103 from opener Keaton Jennings.
The 18 counties are split into two groups, and the top three in each will qualify for the knockout stages ahead of the final at Trent Bridge on August 19.
Eight Lancashire players will be unavailable for the duration of the RL50 because of the Hundred.
Jos Buttler, Alex Davies, Richard Gleeson, Tom Hartley, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Parkinson and Luke Wood are all involved across the various teams.
Lancashire’s overseas signing for the competition, the India batsman Shreyas Iyer, has been ruled out through injury.
Glen Chapple is also absent as he is part of the Manchester Originals backroom staff, leaving his assistant Mark Chilton as locum head coach.
Sussex have a similar number of players available for the same reason, though Jofra Archer played in their National Counties friendly against Oxfordshire on Tuesday as he recovers from elbow surgery.
Top order batsman Tom Haines, who scored 155 in the season opening Championship draw at Emirates Old Trafford in April, captained Sussex in Tuesday’s friendly win over Oxfordshire.
He also scored 105 batting at number three.
Australian batsman Travis Head is available as their overseas player, while England pacer Jofra Archer could also feature.
Sussex struggled in the Championship this season, but they have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast and will play Yorkshire.
One of their stars of that competition was leg-spinner Archie Lenham, son of former Sussex batsman Neil.
He claimed 10 wickets in nine games - his first appearances at this level - and returned notable hauls of 3-14 and 4-26.
Lenham turns 17 on Friday and is certainly one to watch for the future.
This is the first 50-over meeting between the two sides since Sussex beat Lancashire in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy final at Lord’s in 2006 when the likes of Mal Loye, Stuart Law, Dominic Cork and Matt Prior all played in the game.
There should have been a Royal London game played at Horsham in 2015, but it was rained off.
The last completed List A fixture between the two sides came in the Clydesdale Bank 40 at Emirates Old Trafford in 2010 when Sussex won by four wickets chasing a 40-over target of 245.
Captain Paul Horton made 69 in Lancashire’s 244-7, only for it to be chased down with four balls to spare by a visiting side led by Joe Gatting’s 71.
Both sides failed to make it beyond the group stage that season.
What they said:
Mark Chilton says Lancashire are targeting the best of both worlds during the forthcoming Royal London one-day Cup.
Chilton, taking charge of the team in Glen Chapple’s absence, wants to put a trophy on the board whilst also further developing some of the county’s bright young starlets.
“I’m really looking forward to the competition,” said the former Red Rose captain and now assistant coach.
“We’re going to have a highly motivated group of players wanting to win a trophy.
“These guys haven’t been selected in the Hundred and some of them haven’t played a great deal of one-day or T20 cricket at first-team level. They have a lot to play for.
“It’s a really nice balance we have. It’s great that the young players are going to get opportunities, but you want that to come with experience around them to accelerate their learning.
“What happened with Dane Vilas around the Hundred was disappointing.
“However it’s a bonus for us to still have our captain around, and he’s got a fabulous 50-over record.
“I think we play three games in five days at one point, so we aren’t going to just be using 11 or 12 players. It will be the whole squad we have available.”
Chilton went on: “I expect results immediately really because I think the players we have are all capable and have the skillset to put performances in at this level.
“If we think forwards to 12 months’ time, we are hopeful that the performances we get in this will start to impact our T20 team next year. That’s the way my head works with it.
“As much as it’s a competition in its own right and we’re out there to win it - no doubt - we’ve also got an eye on developing those players into our T20 side for next year.
“From that regard, that’s why I think it’s a really great competition.”