Warwickshire host Durham at Edgbaston hoping to give their Royal London One-Day Cup campaign some much-needed impetus.
The Bears currently sit bottom of the North Group table with just a solitary point from their opening three fixtures, having tied with Yorkshire before succumbing to back-to-back defeats to Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire respectively.
Durham, on the other hand, have enjoyed enough of a good start to see them currently occupying third place at this early stage.
Warwickshire have been guilty of conceding a total of over 300 before failing to get anywhere near batting out their overs when chasing in both their recent defeats.
Their downfall in Tuesday’s loss at Trent Bridge was an eighth-wicket stand between Luke Fletcher and James Pattinson as the Notts pair put on 50 in six overs. The Bears then collapsed to 22-4 in 6.1 overs, leaving them next to no chance before they’d even really started.
The form of the top order may be particularly concerning to supporters with Ed Pollock, Dominic Sibley and Sam Hain forming a top three that is yet to produce a half-century. They are, however, expected to be boosted by the return of Chris Woakes.
Wednesday’s rain-affected defeat to Worcestershire aside, Durham have had no such problems with the bat. Cameron Bancroft is an addition that seems to have created a powerful middle order with Alex Lees and Michael Richardson also having made some runs in recent games.
Having finished bottom of the North Group last year, Durham fans will be delighted that the team have already amassed as many points as they did in that campaign and a win at Edgbaston would surely confirm them as serious contenders to make the play-offs. Their fast start to this campaign is even more impressive given they have been without reliable bowler Chris Rushworth and he remains out for this one.
As eluded to earlier, Warwickshire have struggled at the top of the order and the early season absence of Ian Bell looks to be crucial. Despite inexperience, Warwickshire have in their top order a valuable commodity of the potential of scoring lots of runs very quickly. Ed Pollock, on his day, can be absolutely electrifying in white-ball cricket. The frustration is that he plays some silly shots to get out but if he can produce a sizeable innings at his usual strike-rate, then that will go a long way to winning Warwickshire the points.
Having begun with two failures with the bat, the bright spark for Durham from their defeat at New Road on Tuesday would have been Alex Lees’ 52 not out. In order to be really competitive in this competition, there cannot be too much reliance on Bancroft and Lees certainly has it in him to be a match-winner himself. He signed from Yorkshire with huge pedigree last year and Durham fans will hope he can kick on from Tuesday’s return to One-Day Cup form.
Warwickshire squad: TBA
Durham squad: Cameron Bancroft (c & wk), Jack Burnham, Brydon Carse, Graham Clark, Gareth Harte, Alex Lees, Matty Potts, Ben Raine, Michael Richardson, Matt Salisbury, Scott Steel, Liam Trevaskis, James Weighell.
Weather and Conditions
There looks to be a high chance of rain in Birmingham on Friday, particularly in the late afternoon, which increases the likelihood of a shortened game.
Previous games in this competition this season suggest that a score in excess of 300 from 50 overs would give a team a great chance of winning and, if there is rain around, then it may slow the pitch further.
Date: April 26 2019
Odds (SkyBet): Warwickshire 8/11, Durham 11/10