Match Preview: Lancashire v Worcestershire Rapids
Lancashire will take a significant step towards the knockout stages with a victory over Worcestershire Rapids tomorrow
Royal London one-day Cup, Group A
Sunday August 8, 2021, 11am
Emirates Old Trafford
The Pears defeat against Sussex yesterday, by two wickets defending 234 at New Road, ensured the Red Rose held onto third place in the group with seven points from six games.
Durham in second also have seven points from five, just behind Essex with eight points from five.
Worcester on six points and Hampshire and Middlesex with five also remain in contention.
This is the first of two remaining games for Lancashire, who also host group leaders Essex at Emirates Old Trafford on Thursday.
If Mark Chilton and Tom Bailey opt to change things, we know those changes won’t and can’t be drastic given the personnel unavailable at present.
But this team has shown more than enough to suggest it can bounce back. So it would be no surprise if it is the same eleven as Durham on Thursday, including batsman Taylor Cornall, who debuted in that game.
Worcester missed the opportunity to jump into the top three places in the group when they lost at home to Sussex defending 234 yesterday.
They have lost Moeen Ali, Pat Brown and Ross Whiteley to the Hundred, but still include plenty of experience in the form of captain Joe Leach, Brett D’Oliveira, Jake Libby, wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick and Ed Barnard.
They have also been fielding Tom Banton’s younger brother, Jacques, a left-arm spinning all-rounder.
Opener Jack Haynes is their leading run-scorer with 342 runs from six matches and is the second leading scorer in the competition behind Durham’s Graham Clark (367).
Worcestershire have slipped from a position of significant strength with three successive defeats against Middlesex, Hampshire and Sussex.
It has certainly been a competition of two halves for them having won their opening three games.
Worcestershire inflicted one of only three group stage defeats on Lancashire in 2019 as the Red Rose made it to the semi-finals.
The Pears, who elected to bat, claimed a convincing 125-run April success at Emirates Old Trafford on the back of centuries for New Zealander Hamish Rutherford and Daryl Mitchell.
It was the opening day of the competition, and Worcester posted a mammoth 367 all out. Rutherford opened with 108 and Mitchell added 101 off 81, the pair sharing 182 for the third wicket to advance from 110-2.
Matthew Parkinson finished with an excellent 5-51 from his 10 overs, including a team hat-trick in the leg-spinner’s final over (the 48th) - a run out added to two wickets for the Boltonian.
In reply, opener Keaton Jennings made 54, but no one else got into the forties as the hosts were bowled out for 242 inside 41 overs as Mitchell, Josh Tongue and Wayne Parnell claimed two wickets apiece.
What they said:
Rob Jones is confident Lancashire can complete the job they started so well and qualify for the Royal London Cup knockout stages.
Jones has top-scored in the last two games with 72 and 65, but both have come in defeats to Middlesex and Durham.
After winning three of their first four games to top the Group A table, their stranglehold on a knockout place has been eroded.
“We won three from three in the T20s to qualify for the quarter-finals, and it’s not out of our reach,” said the Toft batsman.
“Worcester and Essex are two strong sides, but so are we. And we have the competitiveness and fight.
“The vibe and energy we have in the camp is brilliant, it’s class. We’re all learning and are still positive. If we win the next two games, we’ll get a spot in the quarter-finals or the semi-finals.
“The lads are loving everything that goes with this comp.
“We’ve played some great cricket.”
Jones is understandably frustrated at scoring runs in two losing causes, adding: “If I get the opportunity again in the next two games, hopefully I can see it all the way.
“It’s where we’re at as a team at the minute.
“We’re maybe just lacking a bit of experience to finish games off.
“But it’s all learning. Hopefully, in the next couple of games, I or someone can get us over the line or take it deep.”