It’s that time of the year again, when the two Roses come head to head in the firey format of T20 Blast cricket. The two sides met at Old Trafford around one month ago when Lancashire Lightning secured a 26-run win over their white rose rivals.
It was in this match that Liam Livingstone scored his only half-century of the season – so far.
Yorkshire Vikings will be looking to even the score with Lancashire on Friday night, as they play host for the fixture. They will be lacking their England players due to the current series against Sri Lanka, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem for them as they are able to field their overseas signing Kane Williamson alongside the likes of Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance.
Lancashire are currently on a run of three victories out of three, which the Yorkshire website has reported to be the longest run the Red Rose have ever been on against the White Rose; if the latter has anything to do with it, that run will be put to a stop.
It’s worth noting that in the Royal London One Day Cup competition, these two sides went head to head at Old Trafford just over two weeks ago and Adam Lyth fired 136 runs from just 92 balls; they posted 325 from their allocated 47 overs and then the bowlers sliced through the Lancashire batting line-up like a hot knife through butter.
The meagre response of 84 meant that Yorkshire took a 242 run win.
Whilst that is admittedly a longer format of the game, the team performance could pose a threat to a Lancashire side that has been inconsistent through the limited-overs season.
Spin bowler Azeem Rafiq was invited back into the Yorkshire fold in June of this year, following a series of injuries, after international call-ups became the main problem within the White Rose ranks. His first T20 match for the county since 2012 came in their home tie against Derbyshire and he certainly made the most of it, taking 2-33 and a brilliant catch in the deep to assist with a third wicket.
Last time these two sides met in this format, Liam Livingstone struck 55 from 23 balls including six fours and four sixes. Whilst this is his highest score in the format to date, he has only been playing for around a year and has played in 22 matches averaging 17.46 with the bat. He has two centuries and four half-centuries in the longest format of the game so rest assured, the boy can bat.
Yorkshire have named the same squad as that which appeared in their clash against Durham last week, where they narrowly lost via the Duckworth Lewis method. Jack Leaning is the only man who position is in question, as he injured his ankle whilst fielding against Pakistan A this week. He will undergo a late fitness test on Friday to determine his ability to feature in the clash.
They continue to be without the England contingent: Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, David Willey, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid.
Yorkshire squad: Alex Lees (Captain) Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Karl Carver, Ben Coad, Ryan Gibson, Andrew Hodd (wicketkeeper), Jack Leaning, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson, Azeem Rafiq, Will Rhodes, Josh Shaw, Kane Williamson.
Lancashire will be missing wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler, as he features in the Sri Lanka series alongside the aforementioned Yorkshiremen. Martin Guptill will also not feature in this fixture.
Lancashire squad: Steven Croft (Captain), Karl Brown, Nathan Buck, Jordan Clark, George Edwards, Rob Jones, Arron Lilley, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Tom Moores (wicketkeeper), Stephen Parry, Alviro Petersen, Luke Procter, Luis Reece
Weather and conditions:
It seems that this much-anticipated fixture could well be the epitome of an anti-climax, thanks to the weather-gods. Thursday evening’s forecast for Friday showed the day to be dry and bright with some rain moving in across the hours of 17:00-20:00. Yep, that’s right, pretty much right across the playing time.
Date: 1st July 2016
Ground: Headingley Stadium, Leeds
Umpires: Nick Cook, Jeff Evans and Steve Garratt (TV Umpire)
Odds (SkyBet): Yorkshire 10/11, Lancashire 10/11