Match Preview: Yorkshire Vikings v Lancashire Lightning
The first Roses Match of the 2021 Vitality Blast takes place at Emerald Headingley
Vitality Blast, North Group
Friday July 2, 6.30pm
Lancashire have a foothold in the North Group after a fourth win in 10 games against Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford last night, and another victory will put them right in the hunt.
Victory in front of the Sky Sports cameras over Yorkshire, who are currently second in the North with six wins from 10, would leave them only a point behind the Vikings.
The hosts have unavailability issues and are in danger of letting slip some early good form after a landslide defeat to Birmingham at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
This season has been somewhat of role reversal for the two Roses rivals.
In previous years, it has been Lancashire who have been flying high in the group and on course for the quarter-finals, with Yorkshire scrambling for wins and qualification.
This years, the Vikings are the ones with early momentum.
But the Lightning will be buoyant after last night’s 34-run win over the Rapids as they defended a 160 target.
Lancashire have an excellent recent Roses record. They have not lost against the Vikings in the Blast since 2017 at Emerald Headingley.
Since then, they have won all five games played (one was abandoned due to rain).
On a quicker pitch at Emerald Headingley, Lancashire may think about bringing in an extra seamer. Though it will be an interesting call given Tom Hartley’s career best four-for last night and the prolonged form of international leggie Matthew Parkinson.
Yorkshire are without seven front-line players. Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root and captain David Willey are all unavailable due to England duty, while batsmen Will Fraine and Tom Kohler-Cadmore are injured.
Young wicketkeeper Harry Duke will make his Blast debut. He has been working with Thunder women’s head coach Paul Shaw - a specialist keeping coach - recently.
The Vikings have only reached Finals Day twice in their history. They are one of only five counties never to have won the competition alongside Derbyshire, Durham, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire.
But this could be their year. They are close to qualification for the quarter-finals having won six of their 10 games so far, sitting second in the North.
They have played some excellent cricket so far, topping 200 on three occasions on home turf at Headingley. But they were bowled out for a record low total of 81 against Birmingham in defeat at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Their regular captain, David Willey, is away with England’s ODI squad. Joe Root, who deputised last week, is also now away for the same reason. Their third captain of the competition is Adam Lyth. He will be in charge tonight.
The Vikings have drafted in Mark Stoneman on loan from Surrey, and this will be his third of a five-game spell.
They have a trio of overseas fast bowlers to select from in New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson and South Africans Duanne Olivier and Mat Pillans.
Only Ferguson has played so far, and the Kiwi plays against a close friend of his in Lancashire’s Finn Allen. Ferguson will also play for the Emirates Old Trafford based Manchester Originals in the Hundred later this month.
Their star players so far have been young tyros Harry Brook and Jordan Thompson. They are certainly ones to watch tonight and ones to watch for the future.
Lancashire completed the double over Yorkshire last season in the space of four days in mid-September.
The Red Rose benefitted from unavailability issues within the White Rose, with Covid related issues ruling out captain David Willey, Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Josh Poysden from both fixtures.
The Lightning won by six wickets chasing 146 at Emerald Headingley before returning to Emirates Old Trafford and winning by seven runs defending 168.
In the latter, a win which secured a quarter-final berth for the hosts, Liam Livingstone and Steven Croft shared 130 for the second wicket, advancing from 2-1. The pair scored 69 off 43 and 58 off 45 respectively to underpin a total of 167-6.
In reply, Yorkshire were on course for victory at 115-1 in the 13th over and 132-2 in the 16th.
Adam Lyth made 45 and Joe Root made 64. The latter being run out by Croft was the key moment, however - 132-3 in the 16th.
Danny Lamb, Livingstone and Matthew Parkinson all claimed a wicket apiece, with three run outs in an innings which subsided to 160-6. The Vikings failed to get 12 off the last over bowled by Saqib Mahmood.
Both sides should have scored more with the bat. Lancashire also stumbled from a position of great strength in their innings - 132-1 in the 15th.
What They Said:
Saqib Mahmood and Lancashire are looking to ride on what the fast bowler has described as a “brilliant team performance” in victory over Worcestershire at home last night.
Mahmood and Tom Hartley claimed four wickets apiece to help seal a fourth group stage win following 49 not out from Rob Jones.
“Momentum is key in T20 cricket, and we won that game the way we usually win at Old Trafford,” said the fast bowler.
“That will give us a lot of confidence. It was a brilliant team performance.”
A restricted crowd of approximately 4,000 at Headingley will make for a very different Roses game to previous years. There will be no full house, but at least it is a step up from last year’s behind closed doors affairs.
“4,000 in at Emirates Old Trafford can get pretty rowdy, so I would imagine the same number of Yorkshire fans will make for a good atmosphere,” said Mahmood.
“It’s a game we’ve all been looking forward to.
“We’re playing catch-up in the group, but we’ll be in a good position if we can get another win.”