Vitality Blast T20: Durham banking on history ahead of Leicestershire clash
Durham to win!
Hit by defeats in their opening two games, Durham will be keen to open their account as they face on Leicestershire who’ve shared points due to rain in their two games so far. The weather could come into the picture once more at Headingley although both sides would want an outright result from the game. Durham’s superior record against Leicestershire should boost their confidence but that counts for little on the field. Their bowling looks toothless for flat decks and that’s an area they have to address desperately if they are to turn things around. The batting has fared reasonably well despite the lack of star playerrs in the setup. Leicestershire haven’t played any cricket so far and while this means that their resources are rusty, it also implies that they haven’t been able to find out their strengths and weaknesses just yet. Getting free points due to the weather has been a bonus but even they’ll know that wins are a priority than splitting points. Leicestershire do have an aggressive batting line-up and their battle with the Durham bowlers could be the decisive duel to look forward to from this fixture. Leicestershire’s bowling attack isn’t a big threat either on paper but they don’t have the scars that Durham’s boys have got from the two defeats so far.
Losing T20 games after 180-plus totals isn’t a rarity, at least in today’s day and age. But even then, it’s not something that happens frequently, certainly not when the loss comes in less than 17 overs.
Durham’s bowlers were clueless, particularly against Joe Clarke whose 44-ball century piloted the Notts to a cruise in a potentially stiff run chase. His partner-in-crime was Chris Nash who also took a heavy toll on some inspid bowling from Durham. Even in their opening fixture, they were guilty of leaking extra runs, thereby having to chase an above-par total.
Of course, the previous match saw Mark Wood sitting out as a part of managing his workload but he alone couldn’t have done much, given that he featured in the tournament opener and also bowled a fine spell. He should be in for this fixture and Durham will hope that he can inspire a turnaround in the bowling.
The batting side of things look relatively better with all-rounder Brydon Carse’s powerhitting being the biggest positive from the two games. His bowling in the previous game was also effective, being the only one to withstand the onslaught during the Clarke-Nash stand. Durham might think about including the seasoned all-rounder Ben Raine into the XI depending on the conditions and the pitch.
A Lees, S Steel, G Clarke, B Carse, P Coughlin, D Bedingham, S Poynter(wk), S Dickson, N Rimmington(c), M Wood, M Potts
William Davis, Gavin Griffiths, George Rhodes, Tom Taylor, Callum Parkinson, Lewis Hill, Colin Ackermann, Arron Lilley, Ben Mike, Gareth Delany, Harry Dearden
Their batting remains the biggest strength with a lot of firepower in the top order. Skipper Colin Ackermann will obviously be the biggest impact-player in the squad as the batting all-rounder. The likes of Aaron Lilleyand Harry Swindles can also be destructive on their day while the inclusion of Ireland’s latest find Gareth Delany will lend more balance to the squad. The batting also has depth with a number of powerhitters coming later on in the order.
While there is a tendency to overdepend on their skipper, Leicestershire still have decent strength in their batting. It’s an aggressive unit that could dent opponents with their fearless method with the bat.
The same can’t be said about the bowling that looks a bit timid on paper. The specialist pacers have generally been inconsistent and that means that the all-rounders will have to chip in to ensure that things don’t go out of hand. Callum Parkinson looks a fine deal as the spinner but he’ll need backing up from the others to be effective.
At least, the fact that they are yet to bowl will mean that the minds are fresh and perhaps, allow them to come onto the park with an open mind, a luxury their opponents for this game don’t have.
H Swindles, A Lillee, C Ackermann, G Delany, L Hill(wk), H Dearden, B Mike, T Taylor, C Parkinson, C Wright, D Klein
Matthew Potts, Brydon Carse, Scott Steel, Paul Coughlin, Alex Lees, Stuart Poynter, Nathan Rimmington, Graham Clark, Liam Trevaskis, David Bedingham, Sean Dickson
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||10||0 mm.||0.55 k/h||From: E||43%|
|03h||10||0 mm.||0.26 k/h||From: SSE||36%|
|06h||10||0 mm.||0.34 k/h||From: ESE||23%|
|09h||14||0 mm.||0.9 k/h||From: SSE||2%|
|12h||18||0 mm.||1.49 k/h||From: S||10%|
|15h||17||0 mm.||2.37 k/h||From: SSW||56%|
|18h||16||0 mm.||2.31 k/h||From: SSW||77%|
|21h||14||0 mm.||2.03 k/h||From: SW||75%|
Weather has played spoilsport in many games of the T20 Blast this season but the forecast for this game looks better with no rain forecast. It could be a highly overcast day though, and the hope is that the forecast stays true because it can’t be said with certainty when it comes to English weather.
The pitch at Headingley usually favours the seamers when overcast but also remains dry with the surface expected to slow in the second half. All in all, a sporting deck.
Headingley is one of England’s iconic venues, having played the host to some of cricket’s most historical games. The crowd will be missed, given the flavour it generates but the venue is known to produce exciting games more often than not.
With the rains expected to stay away, it’s advisable to bat first with the pitch predicted to be on the drier side. There should be a lot of runs in it but chasing could get tough if the surface slows down a lot.
Despite Durham’s twin losses, they are favourites to win this clash due to their superior head-to-head record which shows that they know exactly how to beat their opponents. Also, the desperation for a win could be relatively more in their camp.
Durham to win!