Notts, Lancs gear up for Battle Royale
Nottinghamshire and Lancashire have easily been the best two teams in their group during the first leg of the Vitality Blast 2020. They’re fittingly placed in the top-two spots and will be facing off with the winner getting one more step closer to the semifinal spot. Both teams have been clinical albeit in contrasting ways. The Notts have largely depended on their heavy-duty batting to swat aside opponents, often making a mockery of even tall run chases. Lancs on the other hand have batted solidly but have bowled even better, thereby producing well-rounded wins. Of course, the nature of pitches faced by both sides have also been different, and hence the varying strategies. With this fixture being held on a batting-friendly Trent Bridge surface, the Lancs’ bowling is bound to be tested big time, against the might of Notts’ batting unit. Particularly if the hosts are chasing, as they can be tough to stop. The Lancs top order will also be a massive factor, given the potential destruction they can cause but they don’t have the same batting depth that the Notts do. All in all, this could be a cracking contest.
True to pre-tournament predictions, the Notts continue to have a dominant time in the Blast, overpowering opponents by the sheer strength of their batting firepower. The template of fearless batting stems from the depth they have in the line-up and it’s a no-brainer why they love to chase. On good batting pitches, the Notts are extremely difficult to stop even if the targets are tough. Even on two-paced decks, their approach means that one blinder of a knock often seals the deal. Alex Hales’ 16-ball 44 in the previous game in a chase of 124 being a case in point. Their batting is packed with stroke-players and power-hitters with the team management having the luxury to swap people around as per the match situation. The presence of multiple all-rounders means that the bowling also has support, apart from obviously lengthening the batting. As things stand, the best way for opponents to beat them would be to make the Notts bat first. It could again be risky, given their explosive batting resources but still seems a better ploy than defending a score against them.
A Hales, C Nash, J Clarke, B Duckett, D Christian(c), T Moores(wk), S Mullaney, S Patel, I Wasim, L Fletcher, J Ball
Alex Hales, Steven Mullaney, Tom Moores, SI Wasim, Joe Clarke, Chris Nash, Ben Duckett, Samit Patel, Jake Ball, DT Christian, Luke Fletcher
Before the tournament started, it was evident that the Lancs’ bowling had to click to compensate for the apparent lack of depth in the batting department. And so far, that’s exactly what’s happened. Their bowling seems suited for those pitches that aren’t so straightforward to shot-making. Their bowlers are mostly those who relish varying their pace and stump-to-stump medium-pacers with the leg-spin of Matthew Parkinson being their best-attacking option. The form of their opening batsmen has been another massive plus, thereby ensuring that the top order does most of the work. Even skipper Dave Vilas, who slots at no.4, has barely had much to do. The potential rust of the middle order could be a factor later on but as long as things are smooth, the Lancs won’t mind at all. And playing on a nice batting deck like Trent Bridge means that their batsmen can express themselves a bit more than usual. Their best chance of downing the Notts seems to be while chasing, given that their opponents love doing that and could be surprised by being put in to bat. If the Lancs do get to bat first, a lot will depend on their top order if they are to challenge the Notts.
A Davies(wk), K Jennings, S Croft, D Vilas(c), J Bohannon, R Jones, D Lamb, T Bailey, T Hartley, M Parkinson, L Wood
Matt Parkinson, Steven Croft, Luke Wood, Tom Hartley, Tom Bailey, Alex Davies, Dane Vilas, Danny Lamb, Keaton Jennings, Josh Bohannon, Liam Livingstone
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||11||0 mm.||2.71 k/h||From: WSW||94%|
|03h||10||0 mm.||3.05 k/h||From: SW||97%|
|06h||10||0 mm.||3.8 k/h||From: SW||98%|
|09h||14||0 mm.||6.54 k/h||From: SW||94%|
|12h||16||0 mm.||7.5 k/h||From: WSW||96%|
|15h||16||0 mm.||7.01 k/h||From: WSW||92%|
|18h||15||0 mm.||4.59 k/h||From: SW||87%|
|21h||13||0 mm.||4.88 k/h||From: SW||38%|
The forecast is for a cool day with the occasional presence of sun although largely should be cloudy and mildly overcast. Pitches at Trent Bridge are a delight for batsmen, especially power-hitters and we could see more of the same once more.
Trent Bridge has been one of England’s famous venues in Tests and in recent years, also been a popular name in white-ball cricket owing to the increasingly batting-friendly pitches that have been on view. The shorter dimensions have been a factor too.
On extremely flat pitches, the modern-day trend has been to chase and that would be what both teams will be wanting to do as no score looks safe these days.