After a thrilling victory against their Roses rivals last Friday, Lancashire Lightning will hope to continue their winning run at home against Derbyshire Falcons.
Jos Buttler’s heroics guided Lancashire to a final-ball win against Yorkshire Vikings last week but the Lightning will be out for revenge at Emirates Old Trafford after suffering a humbling defeat to Derbyshire two weeks ago.
Lancashire have enjoyed a winning run across all formats of the game, achieving their fifth Championship win of the season against Gloucestershire after Kyle Jarvis claimed his third five-wicket-haul of the campaign.
Derbyshire have been beaten comfortably home and away by Lancashire in four-day cricket but, in the Twenty20 game at Derby, they were in charge for the entire game, reducing last year’s finalists to 127/9 before chasing down the runs with more than two overs to spare.
Hashim Amla top-scored with 51 in the reverse fixture in his final game for Derbyshire, but Sri-Lankan superstar Tillakaratne Dilshan is still on the books at the 3aaa County Ground and is sure to play a big part in this fixture.
Lancashire have a strong home record in this tournament and home matches proved to play a vital role in their journey to Finals Day last season, although the Lightning were beaten by the Durham Jets earlier this season in convincing fashion.
James Faulkner has demonstrated a pedigree reminiscent of Wasim Akram, a former overseas player to represent Lancashire, and the Australian pace bowler made a real impact in the Roses clash at Headingley when it mattered most. The World-Cup winning all-rounder had a mixed debut against Derbyshire earlier this season, but a return of 3-27 against Yorkshire last Friday exhibited the sort of player Lancashire have managed to acquire and how deadly he can be at the death.
The hard-hitting Aussie is yet to make a devastating impact with the bat in this format, although he has already recorded a Championship century against Surrey on his four-day debut for the Red Rose. Lancashire struggled for runs in the reverse fixture and with Jos Buttler unavailable for selection, it could be the ideal time for Faulkner to deliver a big innings, assuming he comes in early enough to make an impact.
Chesney Hughes has the ability to take games away from the opposition with his raw power and if Derbyshire are to make an impact in this fixture they will need more than just one of their batsmen to make a good score. Dilshan will no doubt be tipped to make an impact in this game, but Hughes has made the most runs for Derbyshire in this tournament so far and he is one of only a handful of players to play in all four of their T20 matches in 2015, scoring 128 runs at an average of 42.67.
When the Falcons achieved a five-wicket win in the reverse fixture, Hughes made 21 not out to help guide Derbyshire to what should have been an even more commanding victory under floodlights. His highest score of the season came in a defeat against Leicestershire Foxes where he made 59 off 44 balls.
The Lightning are without Jos Buttler after he secured a thrilling victory for them in the Roses match, followed by an incredible innings for England against New Zealand at Edgbaston. George Edwards has a side strain, although it has not yet been confirmed whether or not he will miss the game through injury.
Lancashire Lightning squad: Steven Croft (c), Tom Bailey, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Alex Davies, James Faulkner, Gavin Griffiths, Paul Horton, Rob Jones, Arron Lilley, Liam Livingstone, Stephen Parry, Ashwell Prince, Saqib Mahmood.
Big Bash contender Nathan Rimmington made his debut for Derbyshire against Durham and he will be an important asset for the Falcons with his death bowling. Club captain Wayne Madsen returns to action after four weeks, making his return against Northamptonshire Steelbacks the day before their trip to Manchester. The Falcons will likely wait until Friday morning before announcing their squad.
Derbyshire Falcons squad: The visitors enter this fixture after playing a Twenty20 match against Northamptonshire on Thursday night. The squad for that game is as follows: Wes Durston (c), Greg Cork, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Scott Elstone, Billy Godleman, Chesney Hughes, Tom Knight, Wayne Madsen, Tom Poynton, Tony Palladino, Nathan Rimmington Shiv Thakor, Wayne White.
Weather and conditions: It is set to be a dry and warm day on Friday with temperatures peaking at 22ºC into the early evening. There is no rain scheduled to interrupt the game and conditions should be ideal for batting first and posting a big score to put the opposition under pressure. For a full weather forecast click here.
Ground: Emirates Old Trafford
Start time: 6.30pm
Umpires: Russell Evans, Steve O’Shaughnessy
Match odds (SkyBet): Lancashire 8/15, Derbyshire 6/4