King Canute, Davy Crockett at the Alamo and Wile E. Coyote with the Road Runner all stood more of a chance of winning their respective battles than the Durham Jets did at the start of this Natwest T20 Blast competition, with the ECB docking them 4 points before a ball had been bowled.
Their form during the competition has done little to alter their situation, failing to win any of their first six games and they sit rooted to the foot of the table still on minus four points.
Leicestershire, on the other hand, could be compared to Rocky Balboa, the Jamaican bobsleigh team or their footballing counterparts as underdogs who regularly perform above their station. This season is no different as they currently sit fourth in the table at the time of writing and a good victory tonight could see them top the table as they turn the changing room lights out at the Fischer County Ground tonight.
The Foxes however will be looking to arrest a recent dip in form, having lost their last two fixtures, both of which have been at home and will be hoping the visit of North Group basement dwellers Durham gives them the perfect opportunity to do this.
When the sides met earlier in the season it was a comfortable win for Leicestershire by 27 runs and if the weather stays away everything, including the bookies, suggest they are the clear favourites for this one as well.
In the modern game if you haven’t got a hard hitting wicketkeeper batsman then you are about as out of fashion as double denim. Luckily for the Foxes they have overseas player Luke Ronchi. The now-retired New Zealand international gives them impetus at the start of the innings and is their leading run scorer in the competition this season, with 162 runs at an average of 27 and an impressive strike rate of 158. Throw in the experience he has in the field too and he is key to the success of this foxes side.
If you have players that can contribute with both bat and ball, then in T20 you are laughing. Durham have a few who can, but this season Ryan Pringle has come to the fore, taking 7 wickets at an average of 18 and at a reasonably miserly economy rate of 7.41. Only the evergreen Paul Collingwood has a lower economy rate amongst regular bowlers. Pringle has also scored 62 runs, which may not sound a lot, but coming in down the order at a strike rate of 102.33 is more than handy. If his off spin can continue to show control and take wickets along with lower order runs, then his performance will be key to Durham breaking their duck this season.
Leicestershire Foxes: Leicestershire have no new injury worries or concerns to contend with and will realistically name an unchanged squad for this fixture.
Leicestershire Foxes squad: McKay (c), Aadil, Ackermann, Cosgrove, Delport, Griffiths, Hill, Klein, Parkinson, Pettini, Pillans, Ronchi (wk), Sayer, Wells.
Durham Jets: Durham will again be without Keaton Jennings and Mark Wood who are away with England or injured. Joining Wood on the physio’s couch is overseas player Tom Latham who is still to make an appearance for the Jets this season. Apart from this, Durham have no new injury concerns coming into the game.
Durham Jets squad: TBA
Leicestershire Foxes: LLWWWW
Durham Jets: LLLLLL
Weather and conditions
This game may see Durham gain their first point of the season, not through their cricketing prowess, but through the weather. Rain is forecast from 6pm onwards through the night and if it is to be believed there will be a lot of thumbs being twiddled and crosswords completed before Durham head back up the A1. If they do get on, the pitches at Grace Road have produced decent scores, however with rain about there may be a bit more assistance for the bowlers.
Date: 28th July 2017
Ground: Fischer County Ground, Grace Road
Umpires: Warren and Lloyds
Odds (SkyBet): Leicestershire 2/5, Durham 15/8