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The excitement in Vitality T20 Blast continues to build as another top of the table clash awaits us. Nottinghamshire Outlaws and Lancashire Lightning are both coming off superb wins in their respective encounters and will be looking to add another win to their tally. They are set to meet each other in their next match and weather permitting, one of the two teams will solidify its position following the upcoming encounter. The match between the two sides is to be played at Aigburth Cricket Ground, Liverpool, on 2nd September 2020.
Lancashire Lightning was left frustrated as the rain kept them from a win in its second match of the competition. However, the frustration was not to last as the Lightning bounced back with a superb win over Derbyshire Falcons. They are now jointly placed with Nottinghamshire Outlaws at the top of the table, separated only by net run-rate. A win in their upcoming match will push them to the top and that is exactly what they'll be aiming for.
Lancashire got off to a terrific start in the competition by defeating Durham in what was the opening match for both sides. They then had to stay content with a shared-point as rain washed-out the second match even before the Lightning got a chance to bat. In their most recent encounter, Lancashire Lightning managed to just stay on top as they defending their total by a minuscule margin of four runs.
Lancashire's brilliant run with the bat continued as a fine knock by Alex Davies propelled them to a total of 178, batting first on a surface that had everything for everyone. Deciding to bat after winning the toss, Lancashire's skipper's decision was immediately justified as the openers Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies got Lancashire off to a flying start. They added 63 runs in a little under seven overs before Jennings was caught dismissed by Matt Critchley. Davies continued to build on the form he showed in his previous innings as he powered his way to a personal fifty and continued to build on it. He was ably supported by Steven Croft, who played a quick cameo of 38 runs, the cameo that provided an impetus to Lancashire's innings. Riding on Davies' 56-ball 82, Lancashire eventually finished with 178 runs on the board.
While the total of 178 was not an imposing total by any order, it was just enough to put Derbyshire's batsmen under pressure. Lancashire bowlers got them off to a terrific start as they got rid of Mattie McKiernan and Godleman relatively cheaply. Derbyshire's batsmen were kept quiet in the powerplay, which yielded only 39 runs. It should have been an easy win thereafter for Lightning, but their bowlers gave away a few too many easy deliveries to score off and that brought the match close. That, of course, was coupled with some excellent batting by Derbyshire's batting.
In the three matches they've played so far, Lancashire has looked pretty good. Their batsmen and bowlers have both done pretty well. Having said that, they would want to focus a bit on their death bowling, which seemed to be a wee bit off against the Falcons. If they can do that, Lancashire Lightning is certainly capable to finish at the top this year as well.
Playing 11 not yet available.
Nottinghamshire Outlaws had a pretty good season last year and they have started off in a similar fashion this year as well. As it stands, they are placed at the top of the points table with two wins in three matches. One of their matches was washed out due to rain. Their spectacular net run-rate of 1.351 is evidence of how imposing they have been in the two matches that they have won.
After an impressive display in their previous match, the Notts produced a classic batting performance to overcome Yorkshire's challenging total. Their chase was powered by Ben Duckett's terrific innings that included ten fours and two sixes. He saw his team through unbeaten with a score of 86 off 53. Chasing a tall total, Notts needed to get off to a flying start and the early loss of Alex Hales didn't help their cause. Joe Clarke followed Alex Hales back to the pavilion soon thereafter.
Chris Nash and Ben Duckett then launched a perfect counter-attack over the white-roses as Yorkshire found themselves in a pretty decent position at the midway stage. Chris Nash perished after completing his fifty, but the cameos from Dan Christian and Tom Moores ensured that the Notts do not lose the momentum. Eventually, Notts cruised past the total with six wickets in hand and four balls to spare.
Earlier, the Notts did a pretty good job to keep Yorkshire under a total of 200 on a surface that was a batting beauty. Although expensive, Luke Fletcher played a key role in restricting Yorkshire as he got rid of five Yorks' batsmen. He returned with the figures of 4-0-43-5. The likes of Jake Ball, Dan Christian, Matt Carter, and Steven Mullaney played the supporting role to perfection as Notts' bowlers gave away just 47 runs off the last 29 deliveries, even though the Yorks had eight wickets in hand.
All in all, this Notts side looks complete, at least on paper. They have an experienced bowling attack and a batting lineup that is second to none. With Samit Patel available to bat at number eight, they have a deep batting lineup that can afford to keep playing aggressively. Given the balance the Notts have, beating them is going to be a steep challenge, even for the high-flying Lancashire Lightning.
Playing 11 not yet available.
Chances of rain and uncertainty surrounding the surface are likely to keep everyone guessing. The application of the DLS method benefits the team batting second and that will be considered by both the captains. The norm generally is to bat second in the shortest format of the game and we expect the captains to stick to that. Fielding first is what the captain winning the toss will be looking to do in the upcoming encounter.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The two teams have already had one of their matches washed out due to rain and it could be a case yet again. It is forecasted to rain on Wednesday and DLS is likely to come into the picture. The surface is known to have something for everyone and we expect a sporting encounter. Scoring here will not be as easy as it as been in the previous two matches. Having said that, once set, any batsman will enjoy batting here. The team batting first should be looking to post a total of at least 175 runs on the board.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team for the upcoming Vitality T20 Blast match between Lancashire Lightning and Nottinghamshire Outlaws. Don't forget to check back the latest updated team right after the toss.
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Compared on paper, the two teams have very little to separate them. This is the battle to capture the top of the table spot and they both are expected to come hard in this encounter. We saw Lancashire's bowling stumbling a bit during the death overs in their last match and that could be a concern while bowling against the power-packed batting lineup of Nottinghamshire. There are likely to ebbs and flows in the upcoming match and for the reasons stated above, we think that the Notts are better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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