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MATCH PREVIEW: Durham v Lancashire Lightning

MATCH PREVIEW: Durham v Lancashire Lightning

For so long, Lancashire have been an almost immovable object at Emirates Old Trafford in T20 cricket. Now, following back-to-back away wins, they are proving to be an irresistible force on the road as well.

Durham v Lancashire Lightning
Vitality Blast, North Group
Sunday June 16, 2024, 2.30pm
Seat Unique Riverside, Chester-le-Street

On Friday night, the Red Rose completed a successful raid on the East Midlands, winning at Leicestershire by 25 runs. That came, having beaten Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Sunday.

Now, they head to the North East - captain Keaton Jennings’ old stomping ground - in a bid to extend their four-point lead at the top of the North Group table and win for the sixth game in seven.

With 10 points under their belts, the Red Rose lead a chasing pack of five teams on six points.

Durham aren’t one of those, but they could add themselves to the list if they beat Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge this afternoon. They sit on four points with two wins.

That is the first of two games in 48 hours for the men from the Riverside.

In beating Leicestershire, Luke Wells stood out again, top-scoring with 35 opening the batting in 162 all out before returning 2-24 from four overs of leg-spin in the Foxes’ 137-9.

Lancashire are aiming to complete the double over Durham having hammered them on the opening night of the competition last month at Emirates Old Trafford. They bowled their visitors out for just 75.

A repeat would be a bit too good to be true. But victory in any way would do nicely, thank you!


Durham have had a mixed start to this season’s Blast, winning two and losing three.

It was a nightmare beginning, against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford, as aforementioned.

They have improved since then, winning a couple of matches. But there have been some stumbling blocks. For example, they lost at home to Leicestershire Foxes on Wednesday when chasing a target of just 141 on a slow pitch.

Captained by opening batter Alex Lees and coached by Australian Ryan Campbell, Durham have three overseas players to choose from in this competition.

They started the campaign picking Aussies Ashton Turner (batting all-rounder) and Ben Dwarshuis (seamer). They were planning on not utilising South African batter David Bedingham in this competition.

But, having, been bowled out for 75 and 101 in their opening two fixtures, it forced them into a rethink. As a result, Bedingham played in their three matches leading into today’s trip to Trent Bridge.

Durham have only ever reached Finals Day twice (2008 and 2016). They have work to do to make it three in 2024.

Opposition player to watch

Bowling all-rounder Ben Raine is having a superb competition with the ball.

An experienced seamer, who bowls wicket to wicket and utilises whatever help is on offer, Raine - aged 32 - claimed seven wickets in his last two matches leading into the clash with Notts this afternoon.

Raine claimed a career best 5-21 in their win over Birmingham at Edgbaston last Saturday.

He is a good bowler with good variations and has, alongside the spinners, been utilised through the middle of an innings in a bid to put the squeeze on an innings on what is generally a slow and low Riverside surface.

Last summer, he was part of the Manchester Originals squad in the Hundred.

Previous meeting

Lancashire hammered Durham by nine wickets on the opening night of the competition last month, ensuring a perfect start to the campaign for the Red Rose.

The Lightning hit Durham with pace. Tom Aspinwall celebrated his T20 debut by taking 4-18 and shared the plaudits with Jack Blatherwick, who returned 3-14.

Steven Croft, starting his 19th season as a county professional, captained Lancashire in the absence of Keaton Jennings, who missed out through injury.

The hosts chased down the target of 76 in exactly eight overs, with opener Luke Wells dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on a statement victory with an unbeaten 49.

What they said

George Balderson has completed the set - and he couldn’t be happier.

The rapidly developing all-rounder made his T20 debut in last night’s win over Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road, contributing significantly to the 25-run win.

He hit a middle order 22 before taking 2-15 from two overs in the Lightning’s successful defence of 162.

Balderson, 23, had already played 61 first-team fixtures before last night.

Forty of those had come in first-class cricket and 21 in List A since debuting in 2020, with the man from Cheadle Hulme shining bright in those - three hundreds and a five-wicket haul, for example.

Last night, however, he showed his T20 prowess having remained patient for a chance.

“I didn’t find out I was playing until about an-hour-and-half before,” he reflected. “That sometimes makes it easier. You don’t have time to sit there and dwell on it too much.

“It was just, ‘Get out there and do the job'. I enjoyed myself. It was good fun.”

Asked to assess his performance, the former England Under 19s captain said: “I’ll take it. I thought I could have kicked on a bit more with the bat, but the most important thing is that we won."

Balderson’s chance in T20 has been a long time coming, with him admitting: “At times, with the players we’ve had around over the last few years, it’s felt like it’s been a long way away for me. But I knew this year there might be an opportunity for me with the timing of the T20 World Cup.

“It was one of my targets for this season, to try and get in the side and put in some performances. Now I’ve got in the side, hopefully I can put in a few more performances and try and keep my spot.”

And on Lancashire’s start to the Blast, he added: “There’s a lot of confidence in the changing room at the minute. There’s nothing better than winning - it makes you feel brilliant. Next time you walk on the field, you feel on top of the world.

“But it’s about staying as level as we can, turning up on Sunday and trying to put in another performance.”

How’s Stat!

Lancashire have the best record of any side in this season’s Vitality Blast - North or South.

They are the first side to both five wins and to 10 points.

South Group leaders Sussex could join them on 10 this evening should they claim a fifth win, at home against Surrey.

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