Essex and Lancashire will be hoping to begin their campaigns in earnest on Monday, after both suffered from inclement weather in their opening Royal London One-Day Cup matches, as a swathe of rain hammered the south of England, preventing all but one of the opening Sunday contests from going ahead.
Essex travelled to Tunbridge Wells for their second abandoned game with Kent in the space of three days, having seen their final T20 Blast fixture called off on Friday, while Lancashire visited Sussex at Horsham hoping to kick-start their 50-over campaign.
The outcome meant each side were awarded a single point, leaving them lagging behind a strong Notts Outlaws side who comprehensively won on Saturday and will be looking to go further than their 2014 semi-final finish this year.
Essex enter the match with confidence after securing a T20 Blast quarter-final place, albeit in the knowledge that they achieved it without being at their best consistently. With that in mind, and possessing a clutch of experienced short-format all-round operators, the hosts must look to replicate their 2014 form and battle it out for Group B top spot.
For visitors Lancashire Lightning, last season was a chastening experience in the 50-over competition, suffering a surprise dip in comparison to their sublime T20 Blast performances. While promotion from County Championship Division Two looks wrapped up already, attention will remain on ensuring a safe passage back to the top tier. Combine that with progression in the T20 and the One-Day Cup may again be quickly over for Lancashire.
Jesse Ryder may have missed out on a hundred for Essex in last year’s One-Day Cup, but the New Zealander demonstrated why he is still such a force in short-format cricket, finishing top run-scorer for the club. He’s backed that up in 2015 for the Eagles in the T20 Blast, and with fewer bowling commitments in this discipline, it should allow Ryder greater freedom with the bat.
Lancashire captain Steven Croft scored three half-centuries in 2014’s 50-over competition yet couldn’t convert any into triple figures. However with the form he takes into this year’s edition following an impressive T20 Blast showing, expect to see Croft in the runs once more. On a Chelmsford pitch that has so far in 2014 aided bowlers, any batsman who can contribute significantly will likely swing the result in their team’s favour.
Both sides stick with the same squads they picked for their opening washed-out matches.
Essex Eagles squad: Ryan ten Doeschate (c), Jesse Ryder, Mark Pettini, Tom Westley, Ravi Bopara, James Foster, Kishen Velani, Graham Napier, David Masters, Reece Topley, Nick Browne, Jamie Porter, Aron Nijjar
Lancashire Lightning squad: Steven Croft (c), Tom Bailey, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Alex Davies, James Faulkner, Gavin Griffiths, Paul Horton, Kyle Jarvis, Arron Lilley, Stephen Parry, Alviro Petersen, Luke Proctor, Ashewell Prince
Date: 27th July 2015
Umpires: Martin Bodenham and David Millns
Odds (SkyBet): Essex 4/5, Lancashire 1/1