There is one match in the Vitality Blast on Saturday and it comes in the evening once the Test match action concludes at Edgbaston. It is in the North Group where the leaders Lancashire host former winners Nottinghamshire in a heavyweight tussle.
Thankfully this one has been saved until after the Test match which means it can get the TV treatment. Both sides picked up huge wins on Friday night so they arrive at Old Trafford full of confidence which should make for an excellent game.
When the season started Lancashire looked like they would be huge contenders for the title. The concern was that injuries would derail them but at the minute they have avoided anything too bad and they are absolutely flying. This isn’t the longest batting line up known to man but the top five is packed with quality, but like all good T20 sides they are very strong with the ball, with quality seamers and a couple of tasty spin options.
The key for Lancashire from here on in is to make sure their better players are available for as long as possible. They look to have a settled side so if the likes of Saqib Mahmood and Liam Livingstone in particular stay fit, they should launch a very strong campaign. There is no weakness in this Lancashire team at present and that is being shown in their results too.
At the start of this competition, Nottinghamshire looked like a right mess so they should be given credit for turning things around. You would have to say that sometimes this competition can come along at the right time for teams given that it allows the batsmen to free up and play their shots, but you still need to go and do it and to be fair to the Outlaws, they have done that, winning three of their five matches since that tame loss to Worcestershire on the opening night of the competition.
The key for Nottinghamshire is that their batsmen continue to deliver the goods. If we’re being honest there is a genuine concern about their quality in this format after the top five but it is good enough at the top of the order for that to be just a minor concern. The other worry is that with the exception of Harry Gurney, they lack a bowler that can be truly relied upon at this level.
Both sides played on Friday night and picked up big wins so I’m expecting to see two unchanged outfits here I have to say. Liam Livingstone shone for Lancashire on Friday so he is expected to remain in the side.
There are no needs for Nottinghamshire to change anything, unless they want to freshen things up after a couple of games in such short proximity. Imad Wasim appears to have settled in well as overseas player since his arrival.
I think Lancashire will win the game but there are more than enough fireworks in this Nottinghamshire side to make taking them at tight odds on not really a worthwhile play, especially with the caveat of both sides playing on Friday night and us not really knowing how they will go less than 24hrs later. That means I’ll head to the sixes for a main bet in this one where a 12.5 line might not be quite high enough.
We saw 15 sixes in the first match on this ground this season when Durham failed to put up 120 so you’ve got to think that there would have been a lot more with a more normal batting effort from then and although Worcestershire only made 130 in an awful batting display in the second game here and although the second innings ended after nine overs because of rain there were five sixes. These are big hitting sides who hit spin a long way. I’m expecting this line to be covered.
Tom Moores has 44* and 69 in his last two matches, both of whch were top scoring efforts so the 6/1 on him to be the top Nottinghamshire batsman offers up a fair amount of appeal here. Lancashire’s main spinner will be bowling his stock delivery into his pads which is a huge help. He’s a former Lancashire player so he’ll know this ground and this pitch well which is another positive and with him batting at four he should get plenty of time at the crease. He’s overpriced at 6s.
Back Over 12.5 sixes for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with Betway
Back T.Moores Top Nottinghamshire Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 7.00 with Coral