Man of the Match: Paul Stirling
Northamptonshire Steelbacks’ test against the Worcestershire Rapids
Worcestershire Rapids to win
In the next game of the Central Group in the T20 Blast 2020 Worcestershire Rapids would be up against the Northamptonshire Steelbacks. Both the sides come into this game having seen their opening games being washed away by rain. This will be a shorter season as compared to the previous years and there isn’t any time for the teams to relax. A win here would set the stage nicely for either of the sides.
The Worcestershire Rapids were the finalists last year and had won the title previous year. They have a good mix of utility players in the squad which adds to their strength both in batting as well as bowling. The Northamptonshire Steelbacks on the other hand had an ordinary season in 2019 and it will be interesting to see if they are able to burry those bad memories.
It was a no show for Ed Barnard’s side in their opening game against the Glamorgan being washed away by rain. Last year’s finalist and winners of the 2018 title, they have a strong team going into this game. Barnard leading in absence of Moeen Ali who is with the national side would be aware of the fact that his side is up against a pretty strong line-up in this game and they will have to play to their best of abilities to win this game.
Moeen Ali’s absence is a big loss for the side but they still have a string batting line-up featuring Rikki Wessels and Hamish Rutherford at the top of the order. Ben Cox, Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby make it a pretty strong line-up in the middle and they will look to set up a good platform for the likes of Ross Whiteley and Brett D'Oliveira to do the hitting towards the end.
Charlie Morris and Barnard with the new ball form a good new ball pair and they would be targeting early wickets in the game. Dillon Pennington and Josh Tongue have been in good form leading up to this season and they will trouble the Steelbacks during the middle overs. Adam Finch completes a good bowling attack for the side leading up to this game.
Ed Barnard (c), Rikki Wessels, Hamish Rutherford, Daryl Mitchell, Ross Whiteley, Ben Cox (wk), Brett D'Oliveira, Josh Tongue, Dillon Pennington, Adam Finch, Charlie Morris
Riki Wessels, Jake Libby, Hamish Rutherford, Ben Cox, Dillon Pennington, Jack Haynes, Ed Barnard, Charlie Morris, Daryl Mitchell, Brett D Oliveira, Ross Whiteley
There wasn’t a single ball bowled in their opening game against Gloucestershire and skipper Joshua Cobb would have been upset about it. This is going to be a big game for them as they are up against one of the strongest squads in the tournament. Cobb would want his side to play to the best of their potential in this game.
Their batting line-up looks pretty strong with Paul Stirling and Richard Levi opening the batting for them, Stirling bringing years of experience to the table. Adam Rossington, Cobb and Alex Wakely in the middle order add to the side’s strength. Ricardo Vasconcelos and Blessing Muzarabani bring in good hitting abilities down the order for the side.
The side will expect a good show from Nathan Buck and Ben Sanderson with the new ball. They complement each other and this is something the side would be confident about. Tom Sole and Blessing Muzarabani have the ability to bowl tight spell and the side would want them to play this role well. Graeme White is another bowler who is likely to trouble the Rapids in this game.
Josh Cobb (c), Ricardo Vasconcelos (wk), Adam Rossington, Alex Wakely, Paul Stirling, Graeme White, Richard Levi, Nathan Buck, Blessing Muzarabani, Nathan Buck, Tom Sole, Ben Sanderson
Adam Rossington, Richard Levi, Brandon Glover, Alex Wakely, Tom Sole, Josh Cobb, Ben Sanderson, Paul Stirling, Saif Zaib, Graeme White, Nathan Buck
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||20||0 mm.||1.75 k/h||From: W||21%|
|03h||17||0 mm.||0.76 k/h||From: SSW||79%|
|06h||18||0 mm.||0.53 k/h||From: SE||94%|
|09h||16||2.35 mm.||0.26 k/h||From: NW||99%|
|12h||17||2.43 mm.||0.98 k/h||From: SSE||100%|
|15h||19||1.84 mm.||1.72 k/h||From: SSW||100%|
|18h||20||1.79 mm.||2.95 k/h||From: SSW||100%|
|21h||20||2.29 mm.||3.37 k/h||From: SW||100%|
The weather prediction for Worchester on August 29 look bad and we would be lucky to have a game here. The conditions are likely to favor the fast bowlers as there would be lot of sideways movement under overcast skies. Batsmen will need to play to the merit of the ball and any score in excess of 150 runs would be a good one for this surface.
New Road, Worcester is a small venue and we have seen plenty of boundaries being scored here. But there is always assistance for the fast bowlers on this surface especially under overcast conditions which makes it a big challenge to play slam bang cricket. Spinners haven’t had the best of records on this ground.
It is expected to be bowling friendly conditions at Worcester at the start of the game and this is likely to play in the minds of both the captains in this game. Most teams have preferred to bowl first on this wicket and given the weather conditions we expect the side that wins the toss to bowl here on this wicket.
This game is going to be a well-contested one as both the sides are packed with good talent. Northamptonshire Steelbacks are a very competitive team as far as their batting is concerned but they lack on the bowling front where the side doesn’t have too many options. Worcestershire Rapids have a stronger unit going into the game and it is their death bowling that separates the two sides. We will have our money on Rapids as they are the more consistent side of the two.
Worcestershire Rapids to win