Leicestershire Foxes and Lancashire Lightning will kick off their Vitality Blast campaigns at Grace Road on Friday night.
Both sides have had differing fortunes during the extended County Championship period, with Lancashire surging clear at the top of the Division Two table while Leicestershire’s positive start to the season seems a long time ago now as they have fallen to the bottom.
Lancashire are always a competitive side in the shortest format of the game, having won the title in 2015, and they were defeated by eventual winners Worcestershire in the semi-final last year.
Leicestershire are still the only county to have lifted the T20 trophy on three occasions but they have only once advanced beyond the group stages since their last triumph in 2011.
Likely to be up against his twin brother, Matthew, Callum Parkinson has become an integral part to the Foxes’ white-ball effort in recent years.
He took a career best 4-20 during the Blast in 2018 and Grace Road is often a venue that often helps the slower bowlers in T20 cricket. In the absence of an overseas player, it is up to Leicestershire’s home grown talent to give the Grace Road faithful something to cheer about.
The ‘big show’ Glenn Maxwell will wear the Red Rose for this season’s Blast off the back of a World Cup campaign which saw glimpses of his power with the bat but without him really firing. An unbeaten 46 against Sri Lanka was his top score. Maxwell, who played for Lancashire in the One-Day Cup earlier this season and in the Championship this week, has also starred across the Pennines at Yorkshire where he famously reverse swept a six off the first ball of a Roses match. If he gets going at Grace Road then no spectator will be safe.
Leicestershire did not finish their County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham until Thursday, but given the limited resources currently facing the club, there is unlikely to be much change from their red-ball squad. Colin Ackermann will captain the side with a number of former Lancashire players set to be involved, including Arron Lilley and Gavin Griffiths.
Leicestershire Squad: TBA
Lancashire’s latest Championship match concluded on Monday as they beat Sussex by an innings and 56 runs. Liam Livingstone suffered a side strain during Lancashire’s match with Durham at Sedburgh School and misses out. Saqib Mahmood is back in training but injury means he won’t be able to build on his impressive 50-over performances in this format just yet.
Lancashire Squad: Dane Vilas (c), Josh Bohannon, Steven Croft, Alex Davies, James Faulkner, Richard Gleeson, Liam Hurt, Keaton Jennings, Rob Jones, Danny Lamb, Toby Lester, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Parkinson, Stephen Parry
Weather and Conditions
With a big crowd expected for the first Friday night fixture of the season at Grace Road, and cricket experiencing a feel-good factor following England’s World Cup win last weekend, it is a shame that it looks like the weather may well intervene for this fixture.
Heavy rain is due in Leicester through the morning but there is a chance it might clear in time for a 6.30pm start.
Date: 19th July 2019
Venue: Fischer County Ground, Grace Road
Odds: Leics 5-4, Lancs 8-13 (SkyBet)