It’s getting intense at the top of the North Group table in the Natwest T20 Blast and tonight Yorkshire Vikings travel to Trent Bridge to face table-toppers Notts Outlaws.
The hosts this evening boast a good track record in the competition this year having won five of their 11 matches so far – consecutively. They talk of momentum and although some of their matches have been weather-affected and result in no-results, a five game win run is not something to be sniffed at.
They’ve also got quite the line-up in their ranks in terms of batsmen. Riki Wessels, Dan Christian and Michael Lumb have all had excellent seasons with the bat – Wessels has the fifth highest batting average in the Blast this season – and they are spread out across the attack so it won’t be a case of ‘get the openers and you’ve done the hard bit’.
On the spin however, Yorkshire have won three games on the bounce and are impressing with their death bowling. And death fielding, if that’s a thing. In the final over of their match against the Birmingham Bears last week, five wickets fell over the course of 13 deliveries and a similar display was put on when they travelled to Derby on Sunday.
The Vikings will also welcome Australian big-hitter Travis Head to their ranks. It will be Head’s first outing for Yorkshire and it looks like he will walk out alongside fellow overseas player Kane Williamson who has been instrumental in Yorkshire’s recent run of success.
One thing that both of these teams have brought to the fore-front of their T20 performances is fielding. Adam Lyth is one of the best fielders on the county circuit but he does not perform alone and Nottinghamshire have made a similar effort this year – good fielding saves runs!
The Outlaws are having such an excellent season; it’s difficult to single out one player. They have a top order that has plundered many a side this year, and central to it has been Riki Wessels. Most recently, he made a brutal 80 off just 35 runs to down Worcestershire by 9 wickets. A powerful and reliable batter, he is incredibly dangerous at the top of the order.
In the last two T20 Blast matches that Yorkshire have played, it has been their overseas signing Kane Williamson who has really shown the opposition what grit is. He can be a little heavy on the blocking action when it comes to batting but he’s proved his doubters wrong and scored 65 and 48. In addition to that he has experience captaining his international side – New Zealand – in T20 matches so can bring a different level of insight to the side’s attack.
The Outlaws will have to do without Jake Ball for this week’s game, as he has made his test debut at Lord’s. Yorkshire, on the other hand, is well stocked with internationals including Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and David Willey. Newly arrived Australian Travis Head should make his first appearance for the side.
Nottinghamshire squad: Dan Christian (C), Luke Fletcher, Harry Gurney, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Chris Read, Greg Smith, Imran Tahir, Brendan Taylor, Riki Wessels (wkt) and Sam Wood
Yorkshire squad: Alex Lees (C), Tim Bresnan, Ben Coad, Travis Head, Andrew Hodd (wkt), Jack Leaning, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson, Liam Plunkett, Azeem Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Will Rhodes, David Willey, Kane Williamson.
Weather and conditions
A cloudy and fairly warm day, with the odd shower here and there, is expected in Nottingham tomorrow. It should clear nicely in the early evening, so the game shouldn’t be interrupted.
Date:Friday 15th July
Ground: Trent Bridge
Umpires: Jeff Evans & Steve Gale
Odds (SkyBet): Nottinghamshire 4/6, Yorkshire 6/5