Momentum is a key word in sport. It’s a precious commodity to have and a difficult force to stop.
Lancashire will desperately hope that their win over reigning champions Warwickshire on Sunday has given them such momentum to take into their clash with Worcestershire at Old Trafford.
It was a result they desperately needed, after three defeats from their first three games had them staring down the barrel of a fifth successive group-stage elimination from the one-day format.
They had captain Steven Croft to thank for the win, as his sensational 127 from just 83 balls helped the Lightning post a total of 351 that was just beyond the reach of The Bears. It was just his third match of the season after an injury sustained in the first Championship game at Chelmsford.
While Lancashire are looking to build on new-found momentum, Worcestershire are hoping to maintain the momentum that they’ve had since the start of the One-Day Cup.
The Rapids are unbeaten thus far from their four games, winning three while their clash with Northamptonshire ended in a tie. They are the only side to have beaten North Group leaders Yorkshire, clinching an impressive 51-run win at New Road on Friday.
22-year-old Tom Kohler-Kadmore starred with the bat in that win, notching 118 – just one run short of his List A best.
So both sides come into this one with a little bit of a spring in their step, but Worcestershire in the much stronger position in the table. They are second and just two points behind Yorkshire, who are in action against Northants.
Lancashire meanwhile are fortunate that other teams have also dropped significant points, and are just two points behind fifth-placed Leicestershire with a game in hand.
This match will see two England Test stars squaring off, as Lancashire’s James Anderson takes on Moeen Ali of Worcestershire.
It was quite an innings from Steven Croft on Sunday. The Lancashire skipper had missed the first two matches of the competition – the first time he had missed a competitive white-ball game since sitting out the Lord’s final back in 2006.
His violent knock included combining with Jordan Clark to take 35 off an Oliver Hannon-Dalby over, and he also smashed four sixes off Keith Barker’s penultimate over. Croft is so crucial to everything Lancashire do, bringing balance to the side with bat and ball as well as being a magnificent fielder.
Daryl Mitchell has also only played twice in the competition this year after missing the first two games. He too has made a significant impact upon his return, with scores of 75 and 69 as well as taking 3-60 against Yorkshire. 33-year-old Mitchell is key to the Worcestershire cause as an all-rounder and is a consistent and experienced one-day performer, with 114 List A games under his belt.
Lancashire are likely to be unchanged as they bid for a second successive victory. Ryan McLaren missed the Warwickshire win with injury and misses out again. His absence forced Lancashire to pick Kyle Jarvis as a specialist seamer and that move gave the side more balance. Left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan also impressed and is likely to be retained.
Lancashire Squad: Steven Croft (c), James Anderson, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Alex Davies (wk), Haseeb Hameed, Kyle Jarvis, Simon Kerrigan, Arron Lilley, Liam Livingstone, Stephen Parry, Dane Vilas and Tom Bailey
Moeen Ali returns to the Worcestershire squad after departing to join the England setup against Ireland. He will be available for the next three matches. Tom Fell was in the side that beat Yorkshire but he hasn’t made the squad.
Worcestershire Squad: Joe Leach (c), Ed Barnard, Joe Clarke, Ben Cox (wk), Brett D’Oliveira, John Hastings, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Daryl Mitchell, Moeen Ali, Jack Shantry, Josh Tongue, Ross Whiteley
Weather and Conditions
It’s set to be a glorious day with sunshine all day in Manchester and across most of the country, with temperatures reaching as high as 16°. Old Trafford generally provides a good surface to bat on in one-day cricket but there may be something for the spinners.
Date: 10th May 2017
Ground: Emirates Old Trafford
Umpires: Paul Baldwin & Michael Gough
Odds (SkyBet): Lancashire 4/5, Worcestershire 1/1