And so begins a week where Hampshire and Yorkshire face each other in five days out of six. On Wednesday, the teams turn to the pink ball for a day-night Specsavers County Championship encounter, but first comes the white ball, and a Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final.
Hampshire, in particular, will be thrilled to return to 50-over cricket after a three-day innings defeat at the hands of Surrey last week. Having won only their opening match of six now played in the Championship, they sit second bottom.
In the One-Day Cup, it has been a different story, winning the South Group losing just two matches — and both of them went down to the final delivery. This is only their third knockout fixture in List A cricket since winning the Pro40 in 2012; they lost the 2013 semi-final and the 2015 quarter-final.
Yorkshire have made it here the hard way. Despite having the same group record as Hampshire — won five, lost two, with one no result — they finished third in a brutal battle for qualification.
Despite being without a number of players on international duty — Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, David Willey, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett for England, Cheteshwar Pujara with India — Yorkshire progressed from the play-offs with victory at Essex.
They’ll be in confident mood having won the last five in this competition and having not played a Championship match last week. Yorkshire sit only a point above their opponents in the Championship and keeping up their good form will be critical this week, the biggest of both clubs’ seasons so far.
Hampshire have played in four List A finals since Yorkshire’s last appearance, in 2002, which they won. That year, they won a semi-final against Surrey thanks to a century from now-Hampshire head coach Craig White.
After defeat to Surrey last week, James Vince said the performance had been “disappointing” and that his players would “all need to look at our own games.” There is no better an opportunity for the captain to lead from the front in that regard. He’s the club’s leading scorer in this season’s One-Day Cup and his impressive century against Somerset in the final group game helped set up a good, albeit losing, total. Runs from him once again can shape this semi-final.
Steven Patterson, the old head who made his debut 16 years ago, took 4-36 in the play-off win, including the important wicket of Adam Wheater who, on 78, was keeping Essex in the game. His promotion to club captain should do little to faze him — he’s captained Yorkshire all the way through this competition, after all, and his experience will play a major part if they are to make the final.
Sam Northeast returns to Hampshire’s squad after recovering from a fractured finger. Liam Dawson is also back having missed the Championship defeat to Surrey through concerns over his previously suffered finger injury, but Mason Crane (sore back) and Brad Taylor (ankle) are unavailable.
Hampshire squad: James Vince (c), Lewis McManus (wk), Jimmy Adams, Gareth Berg, Liam Dawson, Fidel Edwards, Ian Holland, Sam Northeast, Rilee Rossouw, Ryan Stevenson, Dale Steyn, Reece Topley, Joe Weatherley, Chris Wood
Yorkshire remain without their five England stars but Cheteshwar Pujara has returned after India’s Test against Afghanistan ended in two days. Steven Patterson will lead the side for the first time after being appointed official club captain.
Yorkshire squad: Steven Patterson (c), Jonny Tattersall (wk), Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Harry Brook, Jack Brooks, Karl Carver, Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Jack Leaning, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Cheteshwar Pujara, Jordan Thompson
Weather and Conditions
Some early morning patchy cloud is expected to clear by midday with a dry, warm day in prospect as temperatures will hit 20°C on the south coast.
Date: 18th June 2018
Ground: The Ageas Bowl
Odds (SkyBet): Hampshire 4/6, Yorkshire 6/5