Base on overall performances of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire at the Royal London games, the result is likely to go in the favor of Warwickshire.
The previous match of Warwickshire against Yorkshire resulted in a tie, which gave them 1 point to open the account. Their bowling and batting unit performed well collectively against Yorkshire, however, they need to focus on finishing the game after gaining the initial thrust.
Northants have lost two back to back matches. Their bowling unit was ordinary in the first match, but they have shown some improvement in the second. Their main concern should be the top order batsmen who have collectively scored 74 runs in the last two matches.
Northants started poorly in 2014 and ended up at the 6th place of Group-A table. 2015 was much better for them as they claimed 4 victories, although missed the chance to enter knock-out stage by a point. Before dismal 8th place show in 2017, Northants had their best demonstration in 2016 tournament in which they had secured the top position in the North Group. However, they had been defeated by Surrey just by one wicket in the thrilling quarter-final.
In the first match this season, Northants were defeated by Durhams by a big margin of 72 runs, while Derbyshire beat them by 53 in the second. Their pacers, Jason Holder, Sanderson, Buck, and Muzarabani were quite expensive in the first match. Their main concern is the top order batsmen who are not putting enough runs on the board for the middle and the lower middle order batsmen to carry forward. For Northants to win, at least two of their key batsmen - Wakely, Newton, Cobb, and Levi must fire up and build a healthy partnership.
AG Wakely (c), RE Levi, JJ Cobb, RI Newton, AM Rossington (wk), JO Holder, RI Keogh, LA Procter, NL Buck, BW Sanderson, B Muzarabani
Warwickshire had reached to the final of 2014 Royal London Cup but lost to Durham by three wickets. In 2016 they again made it to the final and grabbed the Cup after beating Surrey by 8 wickets. 2017 was quite contrasting for them as they finished in the last position. They recovered in 2018 with 4 wins in the group stage but failed to enter the knockout round after losing the last match of the group stage by one wicket against Worcestershire.
Warks are slightly affected by injuries of their two players Ian Bell and Olly Stone. In their first match against Yorkshire, the bowlers did a fabulous job by restricting Derbs at 5 for 89 but they failed to break the partnership between Tattersall and Bresnan and eventually the match was tied. Stone’s presence could have changed the result in their favor. The role of the all-rounder Chris Woakes becomes more crucial now, especially with the ball.
JS Patel (c), EJ Pollock, DP Sibley, DP Sibley, WMH Rhodes, TR Ambrose (wk), L Banks, CR Woakes, AT Thomson, GD Panayi, HJH Brookes
The venue for this match is The County Ground, Northampton. On this ground, only two ODIs are played in ICC world cup 1999, and both the matches are won by the team batting first. On this ground, the highest team score is 231 and the lowest team score is 110. The highest partnership here is just 69. The surface would be slightly better while batting first.
It would be a wise choice to bat first after winning the toss, put up some runs and let the bowlers confidently defend it.
Northamptonshire lost their first two matches of the season. Their main concern is the top order batsmen. Warwickshire’s team composition looks better despite the absence of injured Bell and Stone. With Chris Woakes leading Wark’s bowling unit, it is going to be a difficult challenge for Northamptonshire. The last two matches between Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, in which we got the result, were lost by Northamptonshire.
Thus, our prediction is that Warwickshire will beat Northamptonshire on 21 April and register their first win of the season.
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