Man of the Match: Samit Patel
Vitality T20 Blast: Confident Notts face slippery Leicestershire
Hosts Nottinghamshire are too strong to lose this fixture!
It’s showtime in the Vitality Blast 2020 with the knockout stages about to commence. In the first quarterfinal, we have Nottinghamshire taking on Leicestershire. Both the North Group teams faced each other twice in the league stages, hitting a deadlock of 1-1. What was interesting to see is that the home teams won in those matches. And this game is a home encounter for the Notts by virtue of topping the group and that will give them the advantage, to begin with, given that they have won all their home games this season.
But Leicestershire have shown that they can be spunky and their ability to punch above their weight makes them an unpredictable candidate, the kind that you would want to be wary of in a knockout contest. On paper, the Notts are miles ahead with enviable batting firepower and depth, but if the Leics can chip in collectively and not buckle down under pressure, this could be a tight contest. The Notts’ run ended in the semifinals last year and they would want to go all the way this time around. The quarterfinal is the first step.
Six wins out of six games – that’s their home record this season and they must be delighted at getting a home quarterfinal. It’s obvious that the conditions at Trent Bridge suit the Notts’ playing style. After all, that’s what home advantage is about, isn’t it? An explosive batting unit that bat deep is their USP and it’s not a surprise that they prefer to chase. No total is safe against them and on numerous occasions this season, they have made a mockery of supposedly tough run chases.
The flip side though, is that they haven’t batted first a lot and while they did win two games, their only loss also came while defending a score. This is one thing that the Notts could be slightly bothered about, particularly if they are put into bat in this contest. However, runs on the board do matter in a knockout game, and with the Notts being a winning team, they shouldn’t ideally be concerned about these things. It’s still the only minor chink in their armour. The bowling isn’t intimidating but they are all smart operators who know how to get the job done.
A Hales, C Nash, J Clarke, B Duckett, D Christian(c), T Moores(wk), S Mullaney, S Patel, I Wasim, J Ball, M Carter
Alex Hales, Steven Mullaney, Tom Moores, Matthew Carter, SI Wasim, Joe Clarke, Chris Nash, Ben Duckett, Samit Patel, Jake Ball, DT Christian
It’s been an up-and-down season for the Leics but they managed to just about scrape through to the quarterfinals. From here on, it’s anybody’s game and they know it. In terms of team strength, there isn’t a lot to write home about, but Leicestershire does a lot of fighters in their squad. The ones who can overcome limitations with determination and that seems to be the hallmark of their side. Skipper Colin Ackermann, Aaron Lilley and Gareth Delany are the big three in terms of match-winning impact, and their fortunes will depend heavily on how the trio fare.
But they are a collectively-performing unit, and that’s been visible in their victories. In order to overcome a marauding Notts side in their own den, Leics will have no margin for error and will need to be at their absolute best. Especially the bowlers who shall have their task cut out. While putting the opponents in seems their best chance of winning, given Nott’s chasing prowess, it could also be a dicey affair in a knockout game.
N Welch, G Delany, A Lilley, C Ackermann(c), H Dearden, H Swindells(wk), L Hill, C Parkinson, D Klein, W Davis, G Griffiths
Gavin Griffiths, Lewis Hill, Colin Ackermann, Nick Welch, Dieter Klein, Ben Mike, Harry Swindells, Arron Lilley, William Davis, Callum Parkinson, Gareth Delany
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||12||0.27 mm.||4.71 k/h||From: SSW||47%|
|03h||11||0 mm.||4.39 k/h||From: WNW||50%|
|06h||9||0 mm.||3.58 k/h||From: W||45%|
|09h||11||0 mm.||3.48 k/h||From: WNW||39%|
|12h||12||0 mm.||4.04 k/h||From: WSW||43%|
|15h||13||0.12 mm.||3.63 k/h||From: WSW||42%|
|18h||10||0 mm.||1 k/h||From: SSW||25%|
|21h||9||0 mm.||2.11 k/h||From: SE||53%|
Rain is forecast for the day and let’s hope that it stays clear of the match timings. Pitches at Trent Bridge have been great for batting with a lot of high scores being registered. But as we’re at the fag end of the tournament, the decks do appear tired and if the Nott’s previous game is evidence, they have slowed down a bit. Yet, with a 10-day gap, the curators should be able to freshen up the decks. Should be another nice batting wicket.
Trent Bridge has been an iconic venue in international cricket, both for Tests and limited-overs cricket. In recent years, the shorter forms have seen a rise in popularity due to the batting-friendly wickets on offer, and the shorter dimensions.
History suggests that it’s a chasing ground with the pitch playing true. But in a knockout game, runs on the board are also vital, especially as all the strips have seen many games played on it. With rain also in the mix, this will be a really tricky call for the captains.