It is hard to believe an entire week has passed since the NatWest T20 Blast roared to life with fireworks, blistering batting and fired-up bowlers. But seven days is a long time in domestic cricket and the clock will be reset tomorrow when the Yorkshire Vikings make the familiar journey down the M1 to take on the Nottinghamshire Outlaws.
The Vikings will be hoping to clinch their first T20 victory at Trent Bridge after three years of successive defeats whilst the Outlaws will be pushing to keep a clean record and make it two wins from two games.
Nottinghamshire have had a poor start to their season with the red ball having failed to win any of their five games. They will be looking to utilise their previous success in the limited overs formats in order to gain some much-needed confidence.
For Yorkshire, Friday’s game is an opportunity to redirect the focus back to match-winning cricket rather than the “is he or isn’t he” speculation about their coach and the England job. With a Test Series now underway at Lord’s it is likely they will be determined to show their strength in numbers, with last year’s T20 catch-cameo star and opener Adam Lyth being away on international duty.
Last week’s fixture at Trent Bridge quickly became “The Alex Hales Show” with a succession of sixes being launched by the Outlaws’ opener to seal victory for his team. With Hales missing tomorrow night’s game as he awaits his IPL debut for the Mumbai Indians this game offers the chance for other members of the squad to step up and push the Outlaws’ cause. They will also be seeking to show they’re more than just a one man team and have the capacity to perform with or without their high-profile stars; a point which may prove crucial if they are to break their four year long quarter-final curse against a summer of international fixtures which could prove costly to team selection at crucial times.
Yorkshire will be hoping their T20 signing Glen Maxwell will provide maximum reward by unleashing his potent, and match winning, style as shown by his successful stints in both the Big Bash and World Cup this winter.
On paper, these teams are well matched and have equal interest in registering a win. The Yorkshire bowling attack looks to have pace and flair and 17-year-old Matthew Fisher will be hoping to re-enact his incredible debut last week which saw him take a five-for against the Derbyshire Falcons.
Aside from the shower of sixes caused by the “Halestorm”, the other talking point of last week’s opener were the passionate celebrations of fast-paced Outlaw Luke Fletcher. Taking three wickets with his signature yorker, Fletcher is quickly becoming the white-ball bowler everyone looks out for. At the Nottinghamshire press day this season Fletcher commented that he always rates the Outlaws’ chances of T20 success. Whilst he seeks to show up the local rivals on their home turf, he admitted that “I really like beating Yorkshire, they’re a decent T20 side like us and they always give it everything so there’s a lot at stake in those fixtures.”
Glenn Maxwell is fresh from the IPL and will no doubt be seeking to make a statement on his opening game for the Vikings. His creativity, originality and unpredictability with the bat promise to be worth the entry fee but he showed in the World Cup he is more than capable of contributing with the ball when called upon. Captain Andrew Gale revealed he was impressed by Maxwell’s attitude upon arrival and his experience at batting in different positions up and down the order has given the captain and coaches choices and flexibility going into the fixture.
Weather and conditions: Cloudy but dry. It may not provide the baking temperatures the organisers may have hoped for to pull in the crowds, but we should at least get a full game with no interruptions.
Ground: Trent Bridge
Date: 22nd May
Umpires: Steve Garratt & Steve O’Shaughnessy
Odds (SkyBet): Nottinghamshire 4/5, Yorkshire evens