As the halfway stage of the Bob Willis Trophy approaches Leicestershire and Durham need a win for slightly different reasons.
Leicestershire, having won one and lost one of their opening two games, sit 19 points adrift of leaders Derbyshire and will keep in touch of the top with a win.
Durham on the other hand need a win just to stay relevant in the group and need a much improved batting display. After two games Durham have yet to accumulate a single batting point, meaning both first innings they have been skittled for under 200.
Both teams have picked up maximum bowling points so it may be another match where bat dominates ball. With only five games played in the group, defeat for Durham certainly means their red ball campaign will be all but over.
And having been beaten inside three days against Lancashire something needs to change if they are to have a reversal in fortune. Leicestershire also experienced defeat without the need for a fourth day last week against Derbyshire.
This defeat however came mainly from how well Derbyshire played and Leicestershire simply could not match them. One thing the Foxes will identify is that 419 runs across two full innings isn’t enough. A problem that only intensifies now opener Ben Slater, who scored 172 in the first match against Lancashire, has been recalled by Nottinghamshire. Both teams possess dangerous bowling attacks so it will be the team that bats best and sets up the game, who will come out on top.
Dieter Klein has only picked up five wickets in the opening two games however, his spells have perhaps deserved more. With a Durham batting line-up looking very fragile Klein will be very dangerous with his consistent line and length. Klein has played 66 first-class matches and when a game has such move consequence on the result, that experience could prove vital.
Despite Durham’s batting woes, Alex Lees has made a more than solid start to the season. He’s scored 178 runs at an average of 44.5 which should provide a base for the rest of the team to build on. If Durham are going to improve their batting performance, a good start from Lees and fellow opener Sean Dickson is crucial.
Leicestershire are without opener Ben Slater now he has returned to Notts, youngster Sam Evans has come in to replace him. New signing James Weighell is unavailable against his parent club but should feature in the short future.
Leicestershire Squad: Colin Ackermann (c), Hassan Azad, Will Davis, Harry Dearden, Alex Evans, Sam Evans, Gavin Griffiths, Dieter Klein, Aaron Lilley, Callum Parkinson, George Rhodes, Harry Swindells (wk), Tom Taylor
Not too many changes are expected from Durham and they could possibly be unchanged from last week. They may look to add reinforcements to the batting however, it is more likely they will back the incumbent squad to improve.
Durham Squad: TBC
The weather forecast isn’t perfect, all four days come with a persistent chance of showers so it will not be surprising to see the odd delay for rain. However, a result should still be on the cards. Wet weather should help the seamers however Grace Road does sometimes help the spinners, this should be a good contest between bat and ball.
Date: 15th -18th August 2020
Time: 11:00 am
Ground: Grace Road
Odds Sky Bet: Leicestershire 8/11 Durham 11/10