MATCH PREVIEW: Lancashire Lightning v Notts Outlaws
After a stumble in the last two games, quickly comes a chance to get back on the horse with a meeting against a Notts side who they are hoping to complete a T20 season’s double against for the first time since 2009.
Lancashire Lightning v Notts Outlaws
Vitality Blast, North Group
Sunday June 19, 2022, 2.30pm
Blackpool Cricket Club, Stanley Park
The Lightning have only ever beat Notts twice in a season twice before, the other time coming in 2008.
Much more importantly, the county are aiming to recover from recent away defeats against Durham and Northamptonshire - the latter coming last night when they failed to defend 154 at Wantage Road and lost by seven wickets.
This is a clash, the first ever county T20 fixture at Blackpool, between two of the world’s most successful T20 sides wins wise, the Lightning and the Outlaws both winning 132 games and behind only Indian Premier League duo Mumbai (140) and Chennai (136).
The Lightning’s early season 87-run win at Trent Bridge has contributed to Dane Vilas and co taking top spot in the North Group table.
But it is possible they could start tomorrow’s game as low as third in the table because both Yorkshire and Northants below them in the table play today and could leapfrog them. Yorkshire travel to Derbyshire and Northants to Worcestershire.
Lancashire are top with 13 points from nine games, the same as Northants but with a better net run-rate. Birmingham are third with 12 points from nine, while Yorkshire are fourth with 11 from nine. But the Vikings have a better net run-rate than everyone else in the group.
Both sides come into this game on the back of defeats last night.
While Lancashire were beaten by Northants, Nottinghamshire conceded a Blast record total of 261-2 against Birmingham Bears at Trent Bridge and failed to chase it down, losing by 55 runs.
This has been a slow start to the competition for the 2020 champions, who have lost four of their first eight games.
And you would have to say, realistically, this is a must win game for the Outlaws, who sit seventh in the table with seven points having won only three times.
We have become accustomed to Nottinghamshire being bang on course for the quarter-finals at this stage in a North Group campaign, however Peter Moores and his side have significant work to do now. A defeat on the Fylde Coast and they would have a mountain to climb.
The Outlaws have veteran Australian all-rounder Dan Christian as their captain and are rotating seamers James Pattinson (Australia) and Dane Paterson (South Africa) to play as their second overseas. The latter two are both contracted at Trent Bridge for the full summer.
Paterson played against the Bears and conceded 36 in two overs as part of the visitors’ record 261-2 total.
Opposing player to watch
Former England opener Alex Hales is both the Outlaws’ leading run-scorer in this season’s competition (201) and also in their history (4,186).
He is a tall and powerful 33-year-old with 141 international caps across all formats, but none since early 2019 following a much publicised fallout with the England management.
Hales will hope to pass 10,000 career T20 runs this campaign. He currently has 9,672 to his name with five hundreds in 344 matches.
The right-hander is destructive on both sides of the wicket, though is particularly eye-catching when hitting straight down the ground.
He is a regular on the world-wide T20 circuit, playing most recently for Sydney Thunder in Australia and Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League.
Lancashire ended a run of nine consecutive Trent Bridge defeats against Nottinghamshire in the Blast (May 31) by sending the Outlaws crashing to 91 all out in pursuit of 178.
Notts’ lowest total in their T20 history contributed to an 87-run loss as the Lightning took their start to the 2022 North Group to two wins and a tie.
Opener Keaton Jennings top-scored with 55 in Lancashire’s 178-7, a competitive total.
Jennings was ably supported by a series of cameos, the most notable of them being Liam Livingstone’s 30. They had shared shared 62 for the second wicket to advance from 27-1.
But Notts were in all sorts of problems at 11-4 after 11 balls of their chase, with Tom Hartley, Liam Livingstone and Richard Gleeson striking to add to a run out.
Hartley and Gleeson, who took the new ball, went on to strike twice apiece, while Livingstone ensured an excellent personal night with 3-33 from 3.4 overs, including the wicket of home top-scorer Luke Fletcher for 21.
Fletcher was last man out in the 15th over.
What they said
Dane Vilas is hoping for better from his players at Blackpool tomorrow after reflecting on an off day at Northamptonshire last night.
The Lightning captain admitted his side lacked the punch required to secure North Group win number seven against a Northamptonshire side who are matching them stride for stride.
Lancashire managed only 153-7, a total which was reeled in inside 17 overs.
“Getting beaten in the manner in which we did was disappointing,” said Vilas. “It wasn’t a great performance all-round from us.
“We were not at the standards we set ourselves, and I think everyone will be disappointed at how we went about it as a team.
“I think we were a little bit shy with the bat and left 10-20 runs out there.
“So, we knew it was going to be a tough ask. I thought we would have been a bit better with the ball and in the field and thought we had a chance. But they took it away from us early on and made it very difficult.”
Lancashire are missing Phil Salt, Liam Livingstone and Luke Wood because of ODI duty in the Netherlands, the same tour Jos Buttler is on. But he is yet to play a Blast game this season.
Josh Bohannon and Rob Jones came in for their first games of the season in the Blast, scoring four and 11.
Vilas added: “It is tough for the guys coming in, but we have every confidence in them.”
Tim David has already hit the most sixes by any Lancashire player in a single Blast campaign, with his tally of 23 already topping the 17 scored by both Karl Brown in 2014 and Liam Livingstone in 2018.