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The most surprising element of North Group points table is the presence of Durham at the top, and that too without Ben Stokes featuring in most of their matches. The lost a close game to Worcestershire around a week ago and will be eager to move onto their next assignment which is against Leicestershire at Emirates Riverside, Durham on 8th August 2018. Leicestershire had a terrific start to the competition as they chased down a record total at home, but their performance has nosedived since then. It should be an interesting match-up with one team looking to maintain it's supremacy while the other fighting for survival in the competition.
Durham are having a terrific season with a series of nail-biting encounters. After scoring a winning streak of five matches, they lost of Worcestershire in which they looked to be favorites for the most part of the match. Following that, they scripted a similar sort of turnaround, against Lancashire, and eventually ended up in winning shoes.
Batting first, Durham did not get off to a start they were after as they lost Tom Latham with just 24 runs on the board. Graham Clarke and Paul Collingwood brought them back into the game with a good 32-run partnership before Clark departed for a personal score of 29. It was then the case of losing wickets at regular intervals as they ended up scoring a subpar total of 154. Will Smith top-scored for them with 32-ball 37.
Lancashire boasts of a terrific batting lineup and it was imperative for Durham to pick early wickets to stay in the game and so they did. Rushworth bowled an excellent opening spell to get rid of Brown for a personal score of 2. It was a hard tussle thereafter for the jets as Davies and Lilley played wonderfully and added 72 runs between them and that too in quick time. Just as the things were slipping out from the hands of Durham, the introduction of Whitehead and Trevaskis proved to be a masterstroke. They not only strangled Lancashire batsmen to stem the flow of runs but also picked up wickets at crucial junctures. Trevaskis needed to defend six off the last over and he gave away only one run and picked up three wickets to take Durham to 14 points, just one short of Worcestershire.
TWM Latham, Graham Clark, PD Collingwood, Liam Trevaskis, Will Smith, James Weighell, Stuart Poynter, Ryan Davies, Nathan Rimmington, Chris Rushworth, Ben whitehead.
Leicestershire's campaign in the competition has been exactly opposite of that of Durham's. Unlike Durham, they started off in a blistering fashion and lost their way with a couple of wins here and there. They, however, found some form back as they defeated Lancashire by chasing down a massive total.
Leicestershire and chasing total have some sort of relationship - in a good way. They chased down a mammoth total earlier in the tournament and have recently scored 194 against Lancashire in just 18.4 overs. Notably, they used seven bowlers in their match against Lancashire.
Everything that should have gone right for Leicestershire went wrong against Lancashire except on thing. They lost five wickets for 92 runs with just 55 balls remaining and they looked out of the match already. However, some terrific batting by Mohammad Nabi, who scored 86 runs off just 32 deliveries saw them home with 8 balls to spare. Earlier, although he went wicketless, Mohammad Nabi bowled four good overs without giving much away in the context of the match. Leicestershire would be happy as they returned to the winning ways with one of the prominent all-rounder firing from all cylinders. It would be interesting to see how they do in their next game.
Neil Dexter, Mark Cosgrove, Ben Raine, Colin Ackermann, Ateeq Javid, Mohammad Nabi, Ned Eckersley, Harry Swindells, Zak Chappell, Callum Parkinson, Gavin Griffiths.
Durham had a small hiccup against Worcestershire, but a win against Lancashire in the subsequent game has put them in a good position. Leicestershire, on the other hand, just managed to stay in the tournament with an emphatic win, thanks to Nabi's incredible hitting. Leicestershire have relied more on individual brilliance in the tournament while Durham's success has been due to the team effort. While both teams are coming on the back of a win, Durham have been in better form as compared to Leics and are better placed to win this important match.