The Vikings are bidding to end the Rapids progress under Sky cameras tonight. This is a contest that will provide closure to some interesting stats accompanying it. Incidentally, the Yorkshire Vikings have not lost any of the last five matches they have played on a Thursday!
On the other hand, Worcestershire Rapids are unbeaten at home against the current champions of the longest format of the game. It’s not often that New Road gets to host a TV game under Sky Sports cameras so it is bound to be an occasion to savour.
Two contrasting emotions escort them as they turn their attention to Natwest T20 Blast again. Worcestershire, who were comprehensively beaten yesterday by Gloucestershire, will be welcoming the shorter format where they have been on a roll this year having won both matches up to now while Yorkshire will look to improve their patchy T20 form by taking comfort from the championship victory over Lancashire yesterday.
The Leicestershire Foxes were runaway winners over the Vikings last week ago and their coach Jason Gillespie was critical of their performance. He said,” Hopefully we can bat, bowl and field a bit better than we did last week. We were well below our best, we know that and acknowledge that, and we had the result from that. We need a better display in all disciplines.”
The Rapids gave a hiding to their local rivals Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston last Friday with Brett D’Oliveira and Alexei Kervezee guiding them to a comfortable win. Rapids’ coach Steve Rhodes was upbeat ahead of the match despite the setback yesterday which slightly derailed their promotion chances.
He said, “It is exciting cricket, a wonderful competition. I am a really big fan of the T20 Blast. We will be up for it. It is always a great occasion playing against Yorkshire and on TV it is going to be excellent.”
On his day, Ross Whiteley can be a bowler’s nightmare. He has an extra liking towards the Yorkshire attack having smashed his top score (91) at Headingley the last time these two teams met. Having spent the winter with the England Lions, he’s grown in confidence and is in good form after helping Worcestershire set a challenging target to Gloucestershire, albeit in a losing cause.
Tim Bresnan’s return has been a big bonus for Yorkshire and if they are to change their T20 fortunes, he would need to put up a show. His experience would come in handy and managing Rapids’ versatile batting line up would go a long way in determining this match.
Worcestershire Rapids are without their marquee T20 signing Mitchell Santner due to a finger injury but his fellow countryman Matt Henry returns to this fixture having had a rest during the county championship match against Gloucestershire.
Worcestershire Rapids squad: Daryl Mitchell (c), Ed Barnard, Joe Clarke, Ben Cox (wkt), Brett D’Oliveira, Matt Henry, Alexei Kervezee, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Joe Leach, Charlie Morris, Chris Russell, Jack Shantry, Ross Whiteley.
While Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root are not available for this fixture, the Vikings are bringing in David Willey as a batsman hoping it will add some much needed fire power to the top of the order. He won’t be able to bowl though as his new club is closely monitoring his recovery to fitness.
Yorkshire Vikings squad: Alex Lees (c), Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Karl Carver, Ben Coad, Andrew Hodd (wkt), Jack Leaning, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Will Rhodes, James Wainman, David Willey.
Weather and conditions
Don’t be misled by the cloudy conditions early in the morning in Worcester, it’s expected clear up and the evening will be graced by sunny spells. The wicket against Durham Jets last time New Road hosted a T20 was very conducive to batting and with the Rapids backing their strength in batting expect another strip with lot of runs in it.
Date: 2nd June 2016
Ground: New Road, Worcester
Umpires: Neil Bainton & Alex Wharf & Steve Gale (TV umpire)
Odds (SkyBet): Rapids 1/1, Vikings 4/5