After a rain-affected draw between Durham and Nottinghamshire this week at Trent Bridge, it’s Durham’s turn to play host tomorrow as the Natwest Blast continues. Durham Jets are set to meet the Outlaws at the Emirates Riverside in what should be a fascinating competition between two strong sides.
Durham have played two fixtures to date, losing one and winning the other, while the Outlaws have so far only faced Birmingham Bears in a match in which they put on a decent bating display but ultimately lost.
Nottinghamshire have power and experience in their batting side but against the Bears, they were let down by their bowling, particularly in the middle overs. The attack will be boosted this week with the return of quick Jake Ball.
Chris Read is out with injury, but former Zimbabwean international Brendan Taylor has come into the side in his stead and, in the four-day game this week, made a century in both innings.
Durham continue to rely heavily on their top order, particularly the batting prowess of Mark Stoneman and Phil Mustard, but their bowling has quality as well. Usman Arshad, who finished last season as the third highest wicket-taker in the competition, took three wickets for just 30 runs against Lancashire and is very useful when it comes to bowling at the death.
Nottinghamshire will be keen to bank their first victory in this year’s tournament, but they face a powerful Durham who are coming off the back of a win against last year’s champions. Unfortunately, the weather might have the final say.
Veteran keeper Phil Mustard might not ply his trade in the four-day game anymore, but the 33-year-old is still a force to be reckoned with in T20. Versatile and powerful, Mustard is Durham’s all-time T20 run scorer and this season has seem him continue to pile on the runs.
In the defeat to Worcestershire, he top scored with 64 runs and top scored again in the victory against Lancashire with a quick fire 46 from 18. There are other, younger keepers and batters in the Jets side but there’s a reason they stick with the Colonel.
Like most side, the Outlaws like a strong start with the bat and that’s where Riki Wessels is useful. Against Birmingham, Wessels made 52 from 41 in his usual bludgeoning style, top scoring as he helped his side to a solid total of 179.
Durham Jets know Wessels only too well: the powerful opener hit a career best 97 from 51 balls in this fixture last season. In the return fixture he made another 67, top scoring again with five sixes and four boundaries. He is powerful and always dangerous, and the Jets know it.
Durham squad: TBA
Nottinghamshire will be without veteran Chris Read due to injury, but it paves the way for Brendan Taylor, who is confident against spin, to come in to the side. Jake Ball has been released by England for three T20 matches and is likely to appear at Chester le Street.
Notts squad: Dan Christian (c), Riki Wessels (wicket keeper), Jake Ball, Matt Carter, Luke Fletcher, Harry Gurney, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Greg Smith, Brendan Taylor, Sam Wood
Weather and conditions
After a wet morning in Durham, the weather is forecast to be cloudy and quite dark all day.
Date: Wednesday 1st June
Ground: Emirates Riverside ICG, Durham
Umpires: Paul Baldwin & Michael Gough
Odds (SkyBet): Durham 6/5, Nottinghamshire 4/6