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The Vitality Blast 2018 is living up to its reputation of being a tournament where every team can beat the other one. Lancashire was coming into this tournament on the back of some horrific white ball performances but have turned it around and very few people could have seen Durham near the top of the table at this stage in the tournament. Both the team will go head to head as they try and keep Worcestershire in their sights and put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack.
Lancashire batted well to get to 190 in its last match but failed to defend that total against Leicestershire. This loss for Lancashire now extends the winless runs for the team to three matches. Lancashire is still in a good position but with the table being so tight and the injury to Liam Livingstone, things are starting to heat up.
Davies scored a brilliant 94 in the last match and led the Lancashire batting. He will be expected to the do the job at the top of the order in the absence of Livingstone along with support from Brown, Lilley, Vilas and the all-rounders.
With Lancashire slightly short on batting due to its players having international commitments and injuries, maybe promoting James Faulkner up the order and utilizing his batting might not be such a terrible idea.
Faulkner has done decently with the ball picking up 8 wickets so far and along with Parkinson, Lester, and now Watt forms the core of the bowling lineup. The addition of Watt, a Scottish international, has been interesting because he is reputed to be quite miserly with the ball.
Durham has been very good with its batting this season and if Lancashire can find a way to get into its middle order early, then they might be in business. It remains to be seen whether Jordan Clark plays for Lancashire in this match because if he does, then he will be lining up against his brother Graham Clark on the other side.
Lancashire has started the Vitality Blast well this season but the long duration of the tournament requires consistency throughout, which it may find difficult to produce.
Alex Davies, Karl Brown, Arron Lilley, DJ Vilas, Steven Croft, Jordan Clark, James Faulkner, Danny Lamb, Toby Lester, Matt Parkinson, Zahir Khan.
Graham Clark and Tom Latham have been brilliant for Durham this season. These two along with Imran Tahir have been the chief reasons why Dirham has been able to defy expectations and stake their place at the top end of the league table.
They will now lose the services of Imran Tahir, though, who has departed for the Caribbean Premier League and that is going to be a huge blow. Tahir was the most economical bowler for Durham this season and with 15 wickets, its highest wicket taker as well.
Rimmington, Weighell, and Collingwood will be required to step up and fill in for their team’s missing gun bowler.
The batting stats are dominated by three batsmen. Latham, the skipper, has been prolific with 355 runs to his name. His ability to dominate in the T20 game has come a long way and his form in the tournament has been absolutely brilliant.
Graham Clark is not too far behind with 322 runs to his name as well. Oth Clark and Latham has scored three fifties each so far and will hold the fortunes of the team in their hands going forward.
The third batsman to do well for Durham is Paul Collingwood, a man who defies age and continues to astound us. He is not someone we would ever count out and fully expect him to play one or two more remarkable inning in the tournament.
Durham has benefitted from having its best players in excellent form so far but now that Stokes is unavailable and Tahir has left do they have the depth to continue their successful run?
TWM Latham, Graham Clark, PD Collingwood, Will Smith, Liam Trevaskis, Ryan Davies, Stuart Poynter, James Weighell, Nathan Rimmington, Chris Rushworth, Ben whitehead.
The team winning the toss is expected to field first
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A dry but cloudy day has been forecast for Manchester for match day. The pitch is expected to be good for batting and assist the spinners a little. The Lancashire lads will be very happy that Imran Tahir is not making this trip over.
A total of 180 can be expected to be par.
Both teams are missing some major players but the Durham batting just seems to be in better form than the home team. We are backing Durham to win.