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Things have been going pretty well for Lancashire in the Vitality Blast 2018 so far. They have won two out of their three matches and are firmly in the top half of the table at this early stage in the competition. Their opponents, Derbyshire, cannot say the same thing. They have lost all the three games they have played this season and need to start shaking things up to get out of this rut. The Vitality T2Blast is long and allows for comebacks but the close nature of the teams means that the margin of error is quite small.
Lancashire Lightning is showing quite a few good signs at the start of the season. Their last two matches have seen them chase down totals with plenty of deliveries to spare and with quite a few wickets in hand. This suggests that their batting is firing and chasing down big totals should not be a problem for Lancashire either.
Even the one match that they lost to Worcestershire saw them make 188 after batting first.
The men at the front of this batting revival have been Liam Livingstone, Keaton Jennings, and Alex Davies. While it is these three batsmen that have gotten the big scores up until now, Clark, Vilas, Lilley, and Faulkner are all capable of playing the big innings as well.
Lancashire’s batting is shaping up nicely and although they will be tested by the international quality pace attack from Derbyshire, they should be able to give a good account of themselves. The one change that we would like to see is Jennings bat above Lilley in every match but Lancashire is unlikely to tinker with a winning combination.
The bowling has been coming together nicely as well. James Faulkner, Parkinson, and Parry all went for less than 6 runs an over in the last match. Joe Mennie has not found a place in the side, although, we suspect Lancashire will look to give him another go sooner rather than later.
Liam Livingstone, Alex Davies, Arron Lilley, KK Jennings, DJ Vilas, Steven Croft, Jordan Clark, James Faulkner, SD Parry, Matt Parkinson, Toby Lester.
All the other teams were a little surprised to Derbyshire stack its team with fast bowlers when everyone else was running after wrist spinners. With Lockie Ferguson, Wahab Riaz, and Ravi Rampaul in the side, Derbyshire had three world-class fast bowlers to call upon.
Derbyshire also has Hardus Viljoen on Kolpak and Alex Hughes to bowl a bit of medium pace. Maden and Critchley are the two spinners for Derbyshire this season and so clearly it was pace that was expected to win them games.
Things have not quite panned out that way. Ferguson has been excellent in the tournament so far, picking wickets and keeping a tight leash on run scoring. All the other bowlers have struggled to have anywhere near the same impact and that has been evident in the results.
Derbyshire could pick up only one wicket against Lancashire in their first encounter, four against Worcestershire, and Nottinghamshire smashed them for a score close to 180 as well. Can Derbyshire expect different results against the same team using the same methods?
It is also unfair to blame the bowling alone. The Derbyshire batsmen have struggled massively as well. Will Madsen is the only one to have scored a fifty so far and even though Callum MacLeod has played a few attractive innings, he is yet to go on and play the big inning.
The reliance on these two players for runs means that others like Dal, Wilson, and Slater are put under pressure when the top-2 don’t perform.
BT Slater, MJJ Critchley, Calum MacLeod, WL Madsen, AL Hughes, GC Wilson, Matt McKiernan, D Smit, Wahab Riaz, Lockie Ferguson, Ravi Rampaul.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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The glorious English summer that we have been witnessing promises to continue for just a little bit longer. A clear day with plenty of sun has been forecast for this match. The pitch in Old Trafford is expected to take a little bit of spin owing to the dry weather but there will still be plenty of runs to be had.
A score of around 180 can be expected to be par.
Derbyshire has won three out of the last five matches between the two sides. They are the underdogs in this match but they do have some match winners in their ranks. The overall strength of the Lancashire side and the current form that the players are in leads us to believe they are going to add one more victory to their list.
Back Lancashire to win.
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