The Yorkshire Cricket Club are proving the cliche right and constantly enduring a battle with the weather. Last year, the Roses clash was the epitome of a wash-out, and not one ball was bowled before spectators and officials alike had to button their waterproofs and retrace their journeys.
This year, while some eyes are on the skies, the rest of them are on the stars. Not only do the respective counties boast a plethora of exciting English batsman, those who attend while get to see to Australian internationals face-off: Glenn Maxwell (Yorkshire) and James Faulkner (Lancashire).
The England internationals Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance are available following the recently concluded Test series against New Zealand, and Joe Root, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett are available prior to the ODI series.
There are numerous head-to-heads in this match: the aforementioned Australian compatriots Maxwell and Faulkner; the three wicketkeepers Jonny Bairstow of Yorkshire against Alex Davies and Jos Buttler of Lancashire; and controversially Andrew Gale and Ashwell Prince – a head-to-head we all hope won’t be too fiery – and least of all of course the two counties as wholes.
The two teams have played 21 matches with the results being shared out as follows:
Yorkshire – 10
Lancashire – 8
Tied – 1
No Result – 2
There won’t be a spare seat in the house at Headingley – even all the hospitality seats have been sold – so if you’re looking to get involved, get Sky Sports 2 on at 6:30pm. At least you won’t need to locate your Vikings helmets that way!
It would be well worth your while keeping a beady eye on young Jonny Bairstow as he looks likely to continue his exceptional form this season and score some runs. Should he make 36 runs or more he will become the third player after Andrew Gale and Anthony McGrath to reach a thousand T20 runs for Yorkshire.
In the longest format of the game, Bairstow has performed four times and secured four scores of 50 or more, one of which he converted into 100. While his T20 scores have admittedly been lower – 40*, 10 and 27 – the Yorkshire crowd could easily find themselves witnessing him reaching a thousand T20 runs for Yorkshire this evening.
The Yorkshiremen will have to contend with the astonishing statistic boasted by Lancashire’s Alex Davies who holds a 9.8% dot ball percentage. This is the lowest dot ball percentage of the tournament so far and with Davies boasting scores of 25, 15 and 41 in his last three matches, he could be one to watch for some fireworks.
Give either of the overseas signings half a chance to get their respective eyes in and the crowd could be in for a real treat – Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner are both massive hitters and can contribute with the ball if required.
England trio Gary Ballance, Adam Lyth and Joe Root are included in the Yorkshire Vikings squad meaning two men who have featured highly this season so far have to miss out – they come in the form of Andrew Hodd and Will Rhodes.
As for the visiting Lancashire Lightning, international wicketkeeper Jos Buttler returns but James Anderson remains rested.
Yorkshire Vikings squad: Andrew Gale (c), Jonathan Bairstow (wk), Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Jack Brooks, Matthew Fisher, Jack Leaning, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Glenn Maxwell, Liam Plunkett, Richard Pyrah, Adil Rashid, Joe Root.
Lancashire Lightning squad: Steven Croft (c), Tom Bailey, Karl Brown, Jos Buttler, Jordan Clark, Alex Davies, George Edwards, James Faulkner, Paul Horton, Arron Lilley, Liam Livingstone, Stephen Parry, Ashwell Prince, Rob Jones
Weather and conditions: Since the weathermen seem to have reported everything from glorious sunshine all evening preceded by thunderstorms through the day, to rain until midday and then dry but cloudy and breezy for the afternoon, almost anything could happen. The one thing they can agree on does appear to be that the evening will be dry and bright so we should get a match.
Umpires: Rob Bailey, Neil Mallender, Neil Bainton
Date: Friday 5th June 2015
Odds (SkyBet): Yorkshire Vikings 8/13, Lancashire Lightning 5/4