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|RN ten Doeschate||45||31||2||1||145.16|
Since the change in the competition format, never ever in the history of the Vitality T20 Blast has a team qualified for the playoffs by winning just five matches. Call it luck or skill, Essex Eagles became the first team to achieve this feat as they registered a miraculous set of results in their last few matches. Thanks to that, they'll be playing in the first quarter-final of this year's Vitality T20 Blast, at Chester-le-Street against Lancashire Lightning, table-toppers in the North Group. The match between the two sides is scheduled to be played on the evening of Wednesday, 5th September. Lancashire have been brilliant in the tournament so far and with the Eagles picking up pace in their last few matches, this match could be a cracking contest.
With the fourth Ashes test scheduled to be played at Lancashire's home ground, they had to shift base to Chester-le-Street, Durham. The kind of surface that Chester-le-Street has been in the tournament, Lancashire would love to play there. Lancashire have four spinners in Matt Parkinson, Liam Livingstone, Glenn Maxwell, and Steven Croft available at their disposal, who all are capable of playing vital roles.
While Lancashire do not boast of a star batsmen who have done incredibly well in the tournament so far, the wide array of power-hitters available makes them a strong side. Croft, Livingstone, and Maxwell are three of the most talented players in the tournament, who all can turn the game around in a matter of minutes. In the bowling department, they have Matt Parkinson, who is competition's leading wicket-taker.
Glenn Maxwell have been a key figure for them thus far and continue to do so with most important matches of the competition remaining. He has 291 runs to his name with a batting average of 41.57.
Lancashire Lightning finished at the top of the table with 20 points to their name, coming on the back of eight wins. Their dominance in the tournament is evident by their superb net run-rate of 0.755. With all of their players available to play, their Coach Glen Chapple has named an unchanged lineup for them. The likes of Faulkner and Maxwell are going to be their key players and with experience available right throughout their order, beating them isn't going to be easy, even for high-flying Eagles.
Alex Davies, Liam Livingstone, Steven Croft, Glenn Maxwell, KK Jennings, DJ Vilas, Josh Bohannon, James Faulkner, Saqib Mahmood, Richard Gleeson, Matt Parkinson.
While Essex Eagles have the momentum after winning three and tying one match in their last four, the absence of Mohammad Amir, who has flown back home to Pakistan, is likely to be a big void for them. While Ravi Bopara hasn't been too happy about batting down the order and has been quite vocal about it, Essex Eagles have been in final only because of his two innings in back to back matches.
Ravi Bopara will be Essex's key man on the surface who is likely to assist spinners. Over the past two years, Anand has scored imperiously against both pacers and spinners and has exploded brilliantly at the death. Apart from him, it's been Dan Lawrence who has been wonderful for the Eagles. He has scored 345 runs at an average of 43.12. Cameron Delport has also done well for them at the top of the order, but consistency has been a big issue for him.
The Eagles have incredible momentum going into the playoffs which could be crucial. However, with Mohammad Amir absent, their winning combination is disrupted, which could have a big impact on their overall performance. They are coming off into the upcoming match with a couple of strong performances with the bat, against Surrey and Spitfires respectively. Even though they have been a little too over-reliant on a couple of players, they will be a force to deal with in the upcoming match, considering the momentum they have.
C Delport, Tom Westley, Adam Wheater, Dan Lawrence, RN ten Doeschate, RS Bopara, Paul Walter, SR Harmer, Aaron Beard, Jamie Porter, Adam Zampa.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team for the first quarter-final of the Vitality T20 Blast match, which is to be played between Lancashire Lightning and Essex Eagles
Lancashire Lightning were undoubtedly the better of the two sides in the league stage of the tournament, but Essex Eagles have shown tremendous potential in their last four matches. Having said that, the loss of Mohammad Amir's absence is a big blow for them. While the Lightning haven't had anyone who has scored heaps of runs in the tournament, they have a lot of players who have done consistently well. On paper and in the tournament, on the whole, Lancashire Lightning have been a better side and, are, therefore, firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming contest.
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