The return of the Royal London One-Day Cup may be greeted with a degree of trepidation by Lancashire supporters.
There are two reasons for that. The first is that they simply haven’t been very good at the 50-over format in recent years. No Lord’s final since 2006 and they’ve failed to even make it out of the group stage of the One-Day Cup – in it’s various forms – since 2012.
The second reason is that Lancashire will once again be sporting their green One-Day Cup kit. Descriptions of it’s colour have caused some debate over the last few years, from lime to pea, but all are agreed it is truly ghastly.
That aside, Glen Chapple’s men will be desperate to improve their 50-over fortunes. They came close to the knockouts last season, finishing fourth in the North group and just a point adrift of eventual champions Nottinghamshire.
Notts swept all before them in white-ball cricket last season, claiming both the Royal London and T20 Blast titles. They will begin this season as strong contenders to lift the trophy again and will certainly head to Old Trafford for their opener in front of the Sky cameras brimming with confidence.
The two teams have already faced each other twice this season in the opening five rounds of the County Championship. In the first match of the campaign, newly-promoted Notts stormed to an impressive victory at Old Trafford.
But Lancashire responded last week by clinching their first victory of the season, an innings win over top-of-the-table Notts at Trent Bridge, which should bring them into this clash with a spring in their step.
There will, of course, be plenty of changes to both line-ups as some of the white-ball specialists return. Lancashire will be without Jos Buttler, who has returned from the IPL but joins the England Test squad, but will have skipper Liam Livingstone at their disposal after he missed out on a Test pick.
Notts’ IPL star Alex Hales is still out in India with the Sunrisers Hyderabad, so the man who now has a white-ball only contract with the Outlaws is not yet available.
Liam Livingstone was included in the England Test squad in New Zealand but his shaky start to the Championship season has seen his omitted for the Pakistan series. That’s a boost to Lancashire’s One-Day Cup hopes. Livingstone has the potential to anchor an innings for the Lightning and also the destructive ability to take a game away from opposition with the bat.
He’s also becoming an increasingly effective spinner and so his all-round contribution to this side cannot be understated.
Talking of all-round contribution, Samit Patel is vital to Notts’ chances. On the way to the title last year, Patel hit two centuries and finished with an average of 67.37. He is also a valuable weapon with the ball, providing an economical option with his left-arm spin while also possessing the ability to snap up key wickets. If Notts are to defend their title, Patel will be crucial.
Australian overseas seamer Joe Mennie returns after missing the Trent Bridge victory through injury. One-day specialists Karl Brown and Arron Lilley could get their first cricket of the season, as could spinner Stephen Parry. England Lions seamer Saqib Mahmood remains sidelined. There’s no place for Haseeb Hameed, who played in this competition last season.
Lancashire Squad: Liam Livingstone (c), Tom Bailey, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, Alex Davies (wk), Keaton Jennings, Arron Lilley, Joe Mennie, Graham Onions, Matt Parkinson, Stephen Parry, Dane Vilas
Ross Taylor will feature for the first time for Notts against the white ball after a superb winter for New Zealand in one-day formats. 21-year-old former Durham MCCU batsman Will Fraine signed for the Outlaws on the eve of this match and could make his debut at Old Trafford.
Nottinghamshire squad: Steven Mullaney (c), Jake Ball, Jack Blatherwick, Luke Fletcher, Will Fraine, Harry Gurney, Jake Libby, Matt Milnes, Tom Moores (wk), Chris Nash, Samit Patel, Billy Root, Ross Taylor, Riki Wessels,
Weather and Conditions
It’s set to be dry with a mixture of sunshine and cloud. Old Trafford is generally a good batting pitch but Lancashire like to utilise their spin attack in one-day cricket, so don’t be surprised if it’s a dry wicket.
Date: 17th May 2018
Ground: Emirates Old Trafford
Odds (SkyBet): Lancashire 1/1, Nottinghamshire 4/5