T20 Blast Preview: Leicestershire Foxes v Nottinghamshire Outlaws

Squeaky-bum time. Control the controllables. Play your natural game. Whatever over-hyped, overused sport cliché you want to use, it all comes down to one game (it really does you know), as the Nottinghamshire Outlaws fight for their quarter-final place with a trip to the Leicestershire Foxes.

The Trent Bridge outfit currently occupy fifth place in the North Group table, and while a defeat would not mathematically see them eliminated, they would need a minor miracle with Lancashire – also on 14 points – boasting a stronger Net Run Rate.

A win, meanwhile, and it’s a nervous wait with the wireless and a constantly-refreshing Twitter feed to find out their fate, in the hope that one of Northants or Lancashire slip up in their respective games. A full Permutations guide is available here.

For Leicestershire, the abacus can remain on the shelf, their fate is well known: They are out. With just four wins from their 13 games to date, the Foxes are unable to finish better than sixth place, but they won’t exactly be there to make up the numbers – they’ll be looking to pour misery on their Midlands rivals.

They did exactly that back in June, inflicting one of Nottinghamshire’s six defeats in the competition thus far, with Umar Akmal’s unbeaten 76 leading a six-wicket victory at Trent Bridge. Three consecutive wins in the format will give Mick Newell’s side confidence, however, putting them in a position that looked almost unobtainable just a few weeks ago.

Key Men

Fast bowler Clint McKay has been the dangerman for the Foxes all campaign with 14 wickets to his name in the 13 matches to date. The Australian also has history against Nottinghamshire, taking 4/24 in the corresponding fixture with a whopping 16 dot balls in his effort.

Much of the batting firepower in 2015 has come from the bat of Riki Wessels for the Outlaws, with the top-order man notching up 439 runs so far. Wessels has also passed 50 three times to put himself in the top-eight of run-scorers in the competition, but fell agonisingly short of a maiden T20 century with his 97 against Durham last time out.

Team News

Leicestershire are hampered by international call-ups, with Grant Elliott away with New Zealand while Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien (both Ireland) and Rob Taylor (Scotland) are yet to return from T20 duties with their respective nations. Michael Burgess, who signed on Thursday, could debut for the Club.

Leicestershire Foxes squad: Mark Cosgrove (capt), Aadil Ali, Andrea Agathangelou, Michael Burgess (wicketkeeper), Ned Eckersley, Ollie Freckingham, Lewis Hill (wicketkeeper), Clint McKay, Jigar Naik, Ben Raine, Rob Sayer, Charlie Shreck, Tom Wells

Nottinghamshire travel to Grace Road with the same XI who returned with the spoils from Durham, and are joined in the matchday squad by Will Gidman and Brett Hutton.

Nottinghamshire Outlaws squad: James Taylor (captain), Jake Ball, Dan Christian, Will Gidman, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Chris Read (wicketkeeper), Riki Wessels, Sam Wood

Weather and Conditions

Could rain spoil the party? Showers are forecast across the whole of Friday around the Midlands, although they are set to be light.

Date: Friday 24th July

Time: 5:30pm

Ground: Grace Road, Leicester

Odds (via SkyBet): Leicestershire 7/4, Nottinghamshire 4/9



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