Yorkshire are flying high in the LV County Championship, but they need a good result against Leicestershire at Grace Road to revive their flagging campaign in the T20 Blast. Although the White Rose county have only managed three wins from their opening seven games, a big win could see them leapfrog Durham and Lancashire and sneak into the qualification places. Leicestershire on the other hand are already in that coveted position, and will be looking to solidify their case for a spot in the quarter-finals.
On paper, the teams couldn’t look more imbalanced in Yorkshire’s favour, but Leicestershire have match-winning players (including a World Cup finalist) in their side. New Zealander Grant Elliott has faced Yorkshire’s international stars in the ODI series, and Yorkshire will be grateful to have Adil Rashid and Jonny Bairstow in their ranks for this encounter.
In the last meeting between these two teams in the T20 Blast at Headingley, the Leicestershire chase was moving along comfortably until a big hit from Josh Cobb was pushed back over the boundary by a leaping Adam Lyth, and caught by Aaron Finch with a low dive. It was one of the highlights of the 2014 tournament, and has featured on adverts ever since. Of the three men involved, only Aaron Finch plays in this match – Josh Cobb is with Northamptonshire now, and Adam Lyth is in Spain with England’s Ashes training squad – but in many ways, both sides will be hoping to replicate that memorable encounter.
Adil Rashid finally tasted international cricket again this summer, and although his figures appear expensive, he received significant acclaim. His place in England’s limited-overs squad is however threatened by Moeen Ali, who would have played if he had not been rested for the Ashes. Rashid knows that in the absence of a world-class spinner such as Graeme Swann, if he can put in enough match-winning performances in domestic cricket, then he will put himself in line for an England call-up, possibly in all three formats if the Worcestershire man struggles. Starting at Grace Road would be useful, for himself and his team.
Niall O’Brien is not as flashy as his red-headed brother, but he has played his part in a stunning World Cup victory over a Test nation: his 79 from 60 balls sank the West Indies. It was cool, collected and clinical hitting that Leicestershire would love to see claim another big scalp at Grace Road.
Yorkshire have enforced absences in the form of Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Joe Root and Liam Plunkett, who are all away on a training camp with England. Adil Rashid and Jonny Bairstow return after their stint with England’s limited-overs teams. It says a lot about the depth of Yorkshire’s resources that they can also rest Ryan Sidebottom, Tim Bresnan, Alex Lees and Jack Brooks ahead of a busy month for the team. Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell are both available after being rested from the four-day game against Nottinghamshire.
Yorkshire Vikings squad: Andrew Gale (c), Jonathan Bairstow (wk), Ben Coad, Aaron Finch, Matthew Fisher, Ryan Gibson, Andrew Hodd, Jack Leaning, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Patterson, Richard Pyrah, Adil Rashid, Will Rhodes.
Leicestershire have Grant Elliott and Kevin O’Brien available, but Umar Akmal has left the club to join the Caribbean Premier League and James Sykes is out with injury. Rob Sayer, who made his first-team debut against the touring New Zealanders, is included in the squad.
Leicestershire Foxes squad: Mark Cosgrove (c), Andrea Agathangelou, Matthew Boyce, Ned Eckersley, Grant Elliott, Ollie Freckingham, Clint McKay, Jigar Naik, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Ben Raine, Rob Sayer, Atif Sheikh, Rob Taylor, Tom Wells.
Weather and conditions
Mostly cloudy tonight, but temperatures could be as high as 20 and there is more chance of sunny spells than rain.
Date: 26th June 2015
Time: 5:30 pm
Ground: Grace Road
Umpires: Neil Bainton & Michael Gough
Odds (SkyBet): Leicestershire 6/4, Yorkshire 8/15