Edgbaston is set to play host to one of the most exciting and anticipated matches the English 50-over competition has seen before even reaching the knockout phase. The term ‘winner takes all’ has never been more apparent than for the latest instalment of ‘Bears vs Pears’.
Sitting on ten points with only a single round of fixtures left to be played both sides would be feeling pretty confident of reaching the knockout stages of the tournament. But a strong division means that it is likely that only one of these sides will go through. The stakes are made even higher by the knowledge that the winner will not only progress, but will receive a home semi-final, meaning the ultimate prize of a Lord’s final is only a win away.
Warwickshire and Worcestershire have been the front runners in the competition this season. The Bears have bounced back well from their poor display last year which saw them pick up a solitary win, while their bitter rivals are looking for their second home semi-final in two years.
Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire need to win to really heat this match up, as if either side slips up in their matches against Northants and Derbyshire, then both Midlands sides will progress. However, the prospect of a home semi-final cannot be affected by results elsewhere. The administrators’ shrewd decision to leave most of the fixtures that include rivalries is set to pay off. Furthermore, the fact the match is day/night and on Sky Sports will only add to the occasion.
It would be no surprise if one of the England selectors made the trip to Edgbaston as two young English batsman are set to go head-to-head. Sam Hain and Joe Clarke have both been in excellent form in the competition so far and will both be prized wickets for their opposition.
Clarke, 22, has enjoyed his role as an opening batsman this year and comes into the match on the back of an excellent 122 against Northants. Sam Hain, meanwhile, has performed in this competition for a few years now and no other batsman has more centuries since the start of the 2016 campaign (6) – Jonathan Trott also has six in that time.
Both sides are set to go into the game with no fresh injury concerns. The home side have a wonderful balance to their side as it is littered with the exciting youth of Ed Pollock, Sam Hain, Olly Stone, and Henry Brookes. The experienced heads of Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Tim Ambrose, and Jeetan Patel could prove to be the difference on such a big occasion.
Worcestershire’s youthful side is reflected in their playing style with four scores of 300+ including a record-breaking chase of 380 against Leicestershire. Worcestershire, too, have a couple of experienced heads in Daryl Mitchell and Moeen Ali – while Callum Ferguson is in extraordinary form and boasts an average of 178.50 in the competition.
Warwickshire Squad: Jeetan Patel (c), Tim Ambrose, Keith Barker, Ian Bell, Henry Brookes, Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Ed Pollock, Josh Poysden, Will Rhodes, Dom Sibley, Olly Stone, Jonathan Trott
Worcestershire Squad: tba
Form (most recent first):
The fixture will benefit from being day/night as the sun is set to break out in the afternoon following an overcast morning. Warm temperatures throughout with no rain forecast at all.
Date: 7th June
Odds (skybet): Warwickshire 8/11, Worcestershire 11/10