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Two teams, currently at the opposite ends of the league table, are getting ready to take on each other in this Vitality Blast 2018 match. Lancashire sits at second place on the league table right now while Leicestershire is second from the bottom. To see this as an uneven contest, though, would be foolhardy. Lancashire is a strong side but it knows how dangerous Leicestershire can be.
In fact, opponents like Leicestershire are very dangerous because you don’t quite know which mood they will turn up in. Lancashire must be wary and at its best in this game.
Lancashire is going to be a little weakened going into this match now that a couple of its players are back playing international cricket for England. Keaton Jennings was a big part of the side and will be missed but Jos Buttler was probably not around long enough to be missed at all.
Still, Lancashire has some excellent players in its side. Liam Livingstone is having an excellent T20 Blast season and is putting himself in line for an England recall should the need arise. He has scored 288 runs at a strike rate of 190.72. with 19 sixes so far.
These are stunning numbers by any definition and show why Lancashire has had so much success this year.
Livingstone has been supported very well by Alex Davies who has 235 runs at a more sedate strike rate of 132.02. Both of these batsmen will be the spine of the Lancashire batting and know they will need plenty of runs against Leicestershire, who can score massive runs itself.
As places open up in the middle order, more will be expected of Vilas, Clark, and maybe even Faulkner to ensure Lancashire does not want for runs.
The bowling for Lancashire has been pretty good as well. The emergence of Lester has been a plus and his 10 wickets will surely garner national attention. The likes of Faulkner, Parkinson, and Livingstone himself have also provided balance to the side.
Karl Brown, Alex Davies, Arron Lilley, Josh Bohannon, DJ Vilas, Steven Croft, James Faulkner, Danny Lamb, MRJ Watt, Toby Lester, Matt Parkinson.
The Leicestershire batting has veered from the sublime to the stupid this season. They have approached the tournament with an aim to go hard no matter the situation and that makes them look brilliant when it comes off, and pretty daft when it does not.
Still, players like Raine cannot be expected to change their style of play after having tasted success in the beginning. Leicestershire will be hoping that players like Cosgrove, Nabi, Delport, and Dexter can set up to provide consistency while some of the other go hard and try to hit the opposition out of the game.
We think that while Leicestershire is certainly capable of winning matches, it is going to be tough for the team to consistently do so with their current approach. Teams have started to work out the weaknesses of their batsmen and have started to hit them with a lot more spin.
Raine is not going to be getting length balls from pacers too often in this tournament and it remains to be seen how he is able to adapt.
The overseas imports, Mohammad Nabi and Mohamad Abbas have done reasonably well in the tournament. They have picked wickets and kept the run scoring against them limited but it has not been enough to win their team more matches.
Leicestershire needs everything for it to go right or one of its players needs to have a brilliant day. Unfortunately, these things do not happen too often in cricket.
Neil Dexter, Harry Swindells, Mark Cosgrove, Ben Raine, Colin Ackermann, Mohammad Nabi, Ateeq Javid, Ned Eckersley, Callum Parkinson, Gavin Griffiths, Zak Chappell.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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Some rain has been forecast in Manchester on match day but is expected to ease out by the time the match starts. The pitch at Old Trafford is good for batting but can assist the bowlers if there is some cloud cover around. There is usually good bounce and carry for the bowlers who bend their back. A pretty even contest between the bat and ball should be on display.
A score of around 170 can be considered par.
Lancashire has beaten Leicestershire in the last two matches they have played against them and we expect to see the same this time around as well.
Back Lancashire to win.