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Match Preview: Hampshire v Lancashire

Match Preview: Hampshire v Lancashire

Two wins from two and now onto a clash between two teams fancied for the title.

Hampshire v Lancashire
LV= Insurance County Championship, Division One
Ageas Bowl
Thursday April 28 - Sunday May 1, 2022, 11am

Many pundits have the Red Rose as the favourites to win the Division One crown. Only time will tell. Fingers crossed they’re right, hey!

But Hampshire have also been tipped as possible winners as well. And you can see why.

James Vince’s side were in with a chance of glory during last year’s helter-skelter final week when that famous one-wicket defeat at Liverpool ended their hopes.

They have, like Lancashire, used the frustration of a near miss positively to win two of their first three games this season against Somerset and Kent.

Lancashire’s dominant performance against Gloucestershire at Emirates Old Trafford, including Josh Bohannon’s sensational maiden double century, was nearly thwarted. Though Hassan Ali struck the decisive blow with 17 balls remaining to secure an innings victory.

Lancashire head to a Southampton venue where they have never lost in the Championship. That run spans 11 games, dating back to 2002, and includes four wins and seven draws.

Opponents:

Hampshire’s wins, Somerset at home and then Kent at Canterbury, the latter last week, were both achieved by an innings.

Sandwiched in between was a defeat against Surrey at the Oval, remarkably also by an innings margin.

Captained by Vince, they are coached by South African former Ireland coach Adrian Birrell.

They have re-signed overseas seam duo Kyle Abbott, the ex-South Africa star, and current Pakistani Test new ball exponent Mohammad Abbas.

A new signing, however, is former Sussex captain Ben Brown, the experienced wicketkeeper batter, who alongside Vince and Joe Weatherley has passed 200 runs so far this season and scored a century.

Lancashire-born former Warwickshire swing bowler Keith Barker is their leading wicket-taker with 15 so far.

If Hampshire do win the title this year, it would be their first Championship triumph since 1973 when Gordon Greenidge played for them alongside ex-Red Rose batter Trevor Jesty.

Opposing player to watch:

Seam bowling all-rounder Keith Barker has become a key members of Hampshire’s line-up since joining from Warwickshire at the end of 2018.

The left-armer, who takes the new ball, claimed 41 wickets in last year’s Championship and has started this season well with his 15 in three games, including an innings best of 6-53.

The Manchester-born 35-year-old, somewhat of an unsung hero throughout his career, is within 40 of 500 first-class wickets.

A former striker with England Under 20s, Blackburn and Rochdale, he made his breakthrough in county cricket with Warwickshire whilst playing for Lancashire League side Enfield.

His is the godson of Red Rose legend Clive Lloyd.

Be it with ball or bat down the order, underestimate him at your peril.

Previous meeting:

There is a fair chance that those who were at Liverpool last September are still trying to catch their breath.

The final round Championship game was, without doubt, one of the most remarkable games in Lancashire’s history.

Both sides went into the final week clash knowing a win would give them a chance of winning the title. The loser would be out of the running.

Thankfully, the Red Rose won a game in which there was not an innings total of 200, by one wicket chasing 196 on day three.

Hampshire were bowled out for 143 on day one before Lancashire replied with 141.

Captain James Vince underpinned Hampshire’s second innings 193 with 69, though Tom Bailey completed a stunning career best haul of 7-37 on day three to set up the 196 target - the highest score of the match.

Lancashire were well placed at 112-2 as opener Alex Davies opened with 44 in his final home appearance before joining Warwickshire.

Wickets started to fall, but even at 177-5 with 19 required things were under control. And then…..

Danny Lamb, Luke Wood and Jack Blatherwick all fell to the leg-spin of Mason Crane, who also had a hand in the run out of Bailey, as the score fell to 194-9.

Captain Dane Vilas, meanwhile, was watching all of this unfold at the other end after making his way to 43 not out.

But he kept his cool and swept the left-arm spin of Liam Dawson through mid-wicket for four, a shot greeted with mass jubilation and relief.

Unfortunately, though, Warwickshire’s win over Somerset the following day meant disappointment was soon to follow and the title would head to Edgbaston.

Still, September 23, 2021 at Aigburth is a day which will never be forgotten.

What they said:

Mark Chilton, Lancashire’s Director of Cricket Performance, has looked ahead to this week’s clash with Hampshire and says: “I think it will be a cracking match.”

Chilton has been delighted by the Red Rose’s winning start to 2022, but he knows they will face a significant test on the South Coast.

“Hampshire have got a lot of depth, balance and experience in their squad,” he admitted.

“No doubt, it’s a big week for us because it’s a tough place to go. But we’ve got a good history against Hampshire.

“They are coming off the back of a good result, like we are.

“I always like the way they play. I am a big fan of James Vince, both as a player and a captain. They are games which are extremely competitive but played in a very good spirit. I always look forward to them.”

Chilton added: “We are both strong sides with lots of good players who are professional and ambitious to achieve big things.

“Giles White and his team run a very good ship down there.

“They have continually challenged across the competitions for a number of years, and I don’t expect it to be any different this.

“Like ourselves, they could have availability issues.

“Who is to say Vince won’t be called up by England. I’d put him in the hat to captain England? And those sorts of decisions can impact your season.

“But to have all our players available for this fixture, bar the IPL lads, makes it a good prospect. I think it will be a great week.”

 
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