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Durham has won five matches out of the seven it has played so far and a win in this match will take it to the top of the table in the North Group. This was not a position that many people expected it to be before the start of the tournament but the team has managed to maintain its winning momentum very impressively. They will be playing a team currently on the opposite end of the spectrum. Northamptonshire has lost six out of the seven it has played and just cannot seem to get its act together.
Can the Northamptonshire Steelbacks recover from their slump to stop the rampaging Durham Jets?
The only team that Durham has lost to this season is Yorkshire. They have brushed past everyone else and will be confident of doing the same against Northamptonshire. The team will be missing one of their key players, Ben Stokes, for this game as he returns to the England squad. Stokes not being available is a big loss to any side and it will be no different for Durham.
Tom Latham will move up the order back to opening position and lead the batting unit with Graham Clark. Both Latham and Clark have been in excellent form having scored 261and 276 runs respectively. Those two, alongside, the ageless Paul Collingwood have to be responsible for providing the bulk of the runs for the team.
Northamptonshire does not have a very strong bowling attack and so Durham’s leading batsmen will be confident of getting the job done. A couple of early wickets, though, and Durham’s lack of depth could be exposed.
Imran Tahir and Weighell have been excellent for Durham in the Vitality Blast 2018 so far. Tahir has taken 11 wickets from his seven matches at an astonishing economy rate of just 6.67. Some tight bowling from the other bowlers has meant that Durham is able to maximize whatever scores it gets and can also prevent the opposition from setting too big a target in the first place.
They will test the Northamptonshire batting, no doubt.
TWM Latham, Graham Clark, PD Collingwood, Ryan Davies, Liam Trevaskis, Ryan Pringle, Stuart Poynter, James Weighell, Nathan Rimmington, Chris Rushworth, Imran Tahir.
It is too early to call Northamptonshire’s season over but that time is fast approaching. The team must do something drastic and remarkable to be able to recover from its current position. Beating the form team of the tournament will definitely be a good start.
A look at some of the scores that Northamptonshire has posted this year shows that its batting has done pretty decently. They recorded a score of 218 in their first match, a score of 231 against Birmingham, and scored 187 in their most recent match against Worcestershire.
The problem? They did not win any of these matches. This means that the Northamptonshire bowling has struggled to defend par or even above par totals.
Against Durham, Northamptonshire will know that they could be in business by picking off the top few batters. They could also score enough runs to put the Durham batting under pressure and induce mistakes. Of course, that will first involve the batsmen getting past Imran Tahir, but that is something they could do.
Levi, Wakely, Cobb, and Duckett have all been in the runs this season. Out these four, Levi and Duckett have more than 20 runs to their names already. All that Northamptonshire needs now is for the bowlers to stand up and deliver.
A look at the current economy rates of the Northamptonshire bowlers makes for grim reading. The bowler with the lowest economy rate is Seekugge Prasaana with 9.21. All other regular bowlers are giving away runs in excess of 11 runs an over.
There is just no way for a T20 team to be successful with those kinds of figures.
Rory Kleinvedlt has taken the most wickets but he is among the most expensive bowlers for Northamptonshire this season.
Richard Levi, Ben Duckett, Josh Cobb, Alex Wakely, Steven Crook, Ricardo Vasconcelos, S Prasanna, Luke Procter, Graeme White, Nathan Buck, Richard Gleeson.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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Some rain has been around Chester le Street off late but a good day has been forecast for match day. The pitch at the Riverside ground has been full of runs this season and we expect nothing different this time around.
Small boundaries, weak bowling attacks, and in-form batsmen all promise a high scoring encounter. A score of 180 could be considered par.
Durham has lost to Northamptonshire in three out of the last four completed T20 matches. The home team comes into this contest with much better form and a better bowling attack.
We think Durham can continue its excellent start to the Vitality Blast.
Back Durham to win.