The overseas signings have landed, the whites have been folded and put away as the first tranche of County Championship fixtures are complete, and that can only mean one thing – the 2022 Vitality Blast is here. Wednesday night will see the Worcestershire Rapids travel to Headingley to face last year’s quarter-finalists the Yorkshire Vikings on the opening day of this year’s competition.
If you were to cast your mind back to last year’s fixture between these two sides at Headingley, you might remember the efforts of Jordan Thompson alongside a certain Harry Brook who set a Vitality Blast record sixth-wicket stand of 141, both unbeaten. Rapids fans have reason to be optimistic about their chances this year though, with the overseas signings of Colin Munro and Dwayne Bravo helping to bolster their ranks, but will need to hope for a quick turnaround for Bravo who has just completed a stint for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL alongside Worcestershire talisman Moeen Ali.
Yorkshire aren’t without their own overseas help this season as New Zealand batsman Finn Allen and leg-spinning Pakistan all-rounder Shadab Khan join the ranks of the White Rose alongside the continued service of Haris Rauf who impressed the Yorkshire faithful during the opening fixtures of the County Championship.
Pakistan’s Shadab Khan will enjoy his first taste of English domestic cricket in Yorkshire this season, but the 23-year-old all-rounder is no stranger to taking wickets on English pitches having dismissed 21 English batsmen here in the course of his duties with the national team. In those same fixtures, Khan has also posted a handy 28.6 average with the bat and could prove key if Yorkshire want to make it to finals day this year.
Worcestershire native Ben Cox was granted a benefit year by his county in 2021, a fitting thank you for his years of service, but also perhaps some encouragement for the future. Should Moeen Ali not be ready for the opening fixture, it is likely that the captaincy will once again fall to Cox, who will want to lead from the front with both bat and gloves.
Weather and Conditions
Early forecasts predict some rain during the day on Wednesday, clearing in time for the evening’s fixture.
Skybet: Yorks 4/5 Worcs 1/1