Nottinghamshire take a day trip tomorrow to beautiful Welbeck, where they host East Midlands rivals and surprise contenders for the one-day cup, Leicestershire.
Notts had a rough start to the tournament, with an unlikely loss at New Road and a thumping from Yorkshire, but they have managed to pull back two wins albeit making hard work of it at Derby. The victory over Warwickshire is the only convincing one to date, but it may just mean the Outlaws have found their feet.
On similar footing, Leicestershire have also had a mixed start to the competition. Like the Outlaws, they have beaten champions Warwickshire and lost to table-toppers Worcestershire.
The Foxes’ batting has been powerful, with consistent contributions from Mark Pettini, Mark Cosgrove and Cameron Delport. Leicestershire’s bowling is probably their weaker point, although they are sporting the likes of Zak Chappell, who has immense pace, and spinner Jamie Sykes.
Despite the constant efforts of Samit Patel and Billy Root, Notts have struggled with their batting. Root, who is certainly a huge talent, dominated the victory over the Bears but others need to start contributing if this campaign is to go anywhere.
Sitting at third and fourth on the North Group table, neither side can afford to slip up at this stage. Leicestershire probably just have the edge on their hosts, based on stats so far, but the Outlaws are at home on an out ground where they have a perfect record. It should be a close competition.
It’s fair to day that Nottinghamshire haven’t exactly blown fans away in this competition so far. That being said, they have an exciting young talent in Billy Root who, alongside Patel, has been one of the few who has consistently stepped up with the bat. His unbeaten 107 against the Bears was central to that victory, and his scores in the 50 over game to date show that sometimes talent is in the bloodline.
Joe Root’s younger brother has spent the last few years being, well, Joe Root’s younger brother. But he is getting opportunities at Notts and he is certainly making the most of them. If Leicestershire want to get past the Outlaws tomorrow, they’d do well to have this man in their sights.
Leicestershire have shown how strong their batting line up is and no doubt Pettini and Cosgrove will bat with impressive form yet again tomorrow, but the weather is set to be cloudy and that means bowling could be key. With the ability to gather impressive speeds, and with the Outlaws batting looking shaky at times, young Zak Chappell might just be the man to watch tomorrow.
The 20 year old has not been flush with the wickets thus far, but he is able to limit the scoring well enough. If the ball swings, as it might well do, Chappell will enjoy his day out.
Leicestershire have named an unchanged 14 man squad from that which lost to Durham. Colin Ackerman, Neil Dexter and Richard Jones are still sidelined due to injury.
The Outlaws have named a 13 man squad for tomorrow’s fixture. Brett Hutton and Greg Smith come into the side, alongside the 11 that appeared against Warwickshire.
Leicestershire: Aadil Ali, Zak Chappell, Mark Cosgrove, Cameron Delport, Ned Eckersley, Gavin Griffiths, Lewis Hill, Dieter Klein, Clint McKay, Callum Parkinson, Mark Pettini, Rob Sayer, James Sykes, Tom Wells
Nottinghamshire: Chris Read, Michael Lumb, Riki Wessels, Greg Smith, Samit Patel, Brendan Taylor, Steven Mullaney, Billy Root, James Pattinson, Stuart Broad, Brett Hutton, Luke Fletcher and Harry Gurney.
Weather and conditions
It’s looking to be cool and cloudy, so we might see that ball swing. Umbrellas shouldn’t be needed, but coats are definitely the order of the day.
Date: Sunday 7th April
Ground: John Fretwell Sporting Complex, Nettleworth
Umpires: Michael Gough & Nick Cook
Odds (SkyBet): Nottinghamshire 4/7; Leicestershire 11/8