Our prediction is that Worcestershire would beat Northamptonshire and strengthen their chances to make it to the playoffs.
Northamptonshire started the season poorly by losing their first two matches, but against Warwickshire, they won with a huge margin by 194 runs. Barring the third game, their bowling unit is not up to the mark. They lost the rain-affected fourth game to Lancashire by 45 runs.
Worcestershire, the visitors, won their first match against Lancashire and lost the second one to Leicestershire even though they made 339 in response to 377. The last match of Worcs was also affected by rain but eventually, they sealed the match by 4 wickets by D/L method and add two more points against their name, to cruise to the second rank.
Northamptonshire’s best show in the Royal London games was in the year 2016 in which they had secured the top position in the North Group. However, they had lost against Surrey just by one wicket in the quarter-final. Other than that, Northants have quite average records.
This year, in the first match, Northants were defeated by Durham by 72 runs, while Derbyshire beat them by 53 in the second. The third match was terrific as they put up a total of 358 due to the solid performances by the middle order batsmen. Their bowlers crushed Warwickshire under 170 runs. J Holder has been fantastic in all the matches with the ball as well as bat. He scored 3 half-centuries and took 7 wickets in 4 games. Keogh is doing his bit with two half-centuries. Northants openers - J Cobb and R Levi - have been disappointing. Cobb's total score in 4 games is 19 runs. The highest first wicket partnership they registered is 33 and the lowest is 1. They must provide a strong foundation to win against Worcestershire.
AG Wakely (c), RE Levi, JJ Cobb, R Vasconcelos, AM Rossington (wk), JO Holder, RI Keogh, LA Procter, SA Zaib, BW Sanderson, B Muzarabani
Since 2016, Worcestershire’s journey in the Royal London One Day Cup is terrific. While they reached the quarter-final in 2016, in the next two years, they stretched till the semi-final games. Worcs started 2019 season with a bang by putting up the massive score of 367 against Lancashire to beat them by 125 runs. Against Leicestershire too, they came till 339 while chasing the gigantic total of 377. In the rain-affected match, they beat Durham by 4 wickets and 10 balls remaining and it would have surely boosted their confidence before visiting Northampton. Three of their players - Daryl Mitchell, Hamish Rutherford, and Ross Whiteley have tasted centuries and three others have scored half-centuries. JC Tongue has taken 5 wickets in 3 matches while CAJ Morris has taken 4 wickets. Daryl Mitchell is excellent with his all-round performance with 161 runs and 3 wickets. Last time when Worcs visited Northampton, in 2017, their match resulted in a tie, but this time it appears they will cross the finishing line.
BL D'Oliveira (c), HD Rutherford, MH Wessels, TC Fell, DKH Mitchell, OB Cox (wk), RA Whiteley, EG Barnard, WD Parnell, JC Tongue, CAJ Morris
The match will be played at County Ground, Northampton. At this ground, the highest and lowest totals in the One Day Internationals are 223 and 110 runs. Here, the average first and second innings score are 211 and 135. The highest total chased on this ground is 223.
The ODIs records of the ground do not show a high scoring match. However, the hosts smashed 358 runs against Warwickshire in their last encounter. The team winning the toss should look to bat first as defending any decent total here would not be too difficult.
Head to head, both the team won equal matches. In the last season, the Northants lost to Worcestershire in the run chase of 348 at Worcester. Worcestershire’s team formation looks good as they are constantly getting support from their middle and lower middle order batsmen. In the Royal London tournaments, Worcestershire has always demonstrated better and consistent performances.
So, our prediction is that Worcestershire will defeat Northamptonshire on 26th April 2019 at County Ground, Northampton and secure two more points that would help them to get to the playoffs.
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