Worcestershire Rapids v Yorkshire Vikings – Natwest T20 Blast at 17:30 live on Sky Sports 2
Worcestershire Rapids host the Yorkshire Vikings on Thursday night with the home side looking for a third straight victory to start their North Group campaign. After smashing 225 to comfortably dispatch Durham at home, Worcestershire chased 155 to upset near neighbours and rivals the Birmingham Bears (Warwickshire!) on their own Edgbaston patch. Yorkshire got off to a terrible start last Friday, losing by 54 runs away at Leicestershire. Having qualified for the quarter finals just once in the last 8 years, being bowled out for 120 doesn’t suggest 2016 will be any easier for Yorkshire in this format.
Expect some warm evening sunshine over beautiful New Road with temperatures hovering around the 20 degrees celsius mark. There’s just a 10% chance of some light showers.
Here is a list of 1st innings scores at New Road, Worcester, in recent T20 Blast matches –
2015 – 196, 160, 127, 193, 136, 169, 147 – Average 161
2014 – 141, 209, 229, 133, 134 – Average 169
Here are Worcestershire scores when batting first over the past two years –
2015 – 191, 160, 173, 159, 211 – Average 178
2014 – 141, 209, 162, 175, 177, 163 – Average 171
Here are Yorkshire’s scores when batting first over the same period –
2015 – 153, 146, 132, 209, 185 – Average 165
2014 – 200, 147, 183, 186, 168, 181, 162 – Average 175
Daryl Mitchell leads his Worcestershire side from the front. 412 runs in 2015 saw Mitchell sit 14th in the tournaments leading run scorers. New Zealand overseas star Mitchell Santner has had his stint cut short thanks to a finger injury and is likely to be replaced by Dutchman Alex Kervezee, who made 40 off 32 in the win against Birmingham. All-rounder Brett D’Oliveira has had a dream start to the 2016 T20 Blast with unbeaten scores of 39 and 62. His leg spin delivered figures of 1-17 off his 4 overs against Birmingham and his balance is crucial to Worcestershire’s chances of success. The batting is completed by left handed smasher Ross Whitely whose 989 career runs have been scored at a SR of 146. The bowling attack is led by the unique left arm seam of Jack Shantry who took 16 wickets last year and Joe Leach, who contributed 17. New Zealand international Matt Henry is steady whilst South African Kyle Abbott is expected to arrive any day now, giving Worcestershire an impressive seam attack.
Yorkshire are skippered in T20 cricket by 23 year-old Alex Lees. A career average of 26 in his first 22 games suggests he still has a lot of prove as a leader and batsman in all forms of the game. Jake Leaning top scored in the 2015 campaign 338 runs in 14 innings whilst former England Test batsmen Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance are arguably more suited to the longer formats of the game – career SR’s of 122 and 121 respectively in T20 cricket are well down on what is expected. New Zealander Kane Williamson should be available post IPL, where he played 6 matches for champions Sunrisers Hyderabad. The bowling attack is missing injured 18 year-old Matt Fisher who took an eye-catching 16 wickets last season. England left-armer David Willey has been injured as well for some time but could return here. Tim Bresnan has been around forever and used to play a big part in England’s one day plans whilst Liam Plunkett broke back into the national sides T20 plans with a fine showing in last months World Cup, going at just over a run a ball. However, wickets from Rashid (below) will be a necessity if Yorkshire are to progress.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore is delivering the weight of runs in 2016 that his undoubted potential demands. Now in his third season as a Worcestershire regular, the 21-year old opening batsman started the season with a second First Class career hundred, shortly followed by a maiden T20 century made in the win versus Durham. He smashed 127 off just 54 balls, including 8 sixes and 14 fours – taking his career T20 SR to 144 in the process.
Adil Rashid has developed into a fine T20 bowler. The Yorkshire born-and-bred leg spinner had a successful winter for both his country and Australian T20 Big Bash franchise, the Adelaide Strikers. Rashid was second on the BBL season leading wicket takers list with 16 wickets in 9 matches – perhaps just as striking was his miserly economy rate of 6.5 runs per over off his bowling.
If Worcestershire bat first I recommend taking any OVER RUNS around the 164-166 mark.
If Yorkshire bat first t I recommend taking any UNDER RUNS around the 164-166 mark
Top Batsman Market
Alex Kervezee looked in good touch against Birmingham and should bat in Worcestershire‘s top four. He can be backed at 7.0.
Not sure there’s any value in backing any of Yorkshire’s top order and given that they used Adil Rashid as a number-three pinch hitter against Leicestershire lets take a punt they might try Liam Plunkett in a similar role – he’s available at 41.0
Eastbridge now fully licensed in the UK!