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The difference between the top-most team and the bottom-most team in the North Group points table in the Vitality T20 Blast 2019. Lancashire Lightning are currently at the top of the table with 12 points to their name. At the opposite end of the points table are Northamptonshire Steelbacks who've had a dismal tournament thus far and have won just one game in the entire competition. While they still have a chance to qualify for the next round, they need to play out of their skins in all of their remaining matches going forward. Their next match is against Durham Jet, who have done reasonably well so far and will be looking to get to the third spot with a win here. The two teams will lock horns on Wednesday, 7th August at the County Ground in Northampton.
The situation for the Steelbacks in the tournament has been precisely the opposite of smooth-sailing. Out of a total of five matches played, they've managed to come out on top only once. There last win, the only one, came a couple of games ago where they ran-past Birmingham Bears in a rain-curtailed encounter.
After their last win, they've had a game washed out due to rain in their subsequent encounter, their last one; they lost the closely-contested match by six wickets. It was their third defeat of the tournament wherein their skipper's valiant helped them to rack up their highest total of the competition before Derbyshire Falcons eventually chased it down.
Batting first, Northants did not get off the kind of start they were looking for as Ravi Rampaul got rid of Ben Curran on the first delivery of the third over with the total score reading 12. Adam Rossington and Joshua Cobb, their skipper, then combined to launch and inspiration counter-attack over the Falcons' bowlers as the duo put together 103 runs in under ten overs. However, a relatively weak finish to their innings pulled their total by at least ten runs which eventually cost them the game.
Additionally, their bowling with the new ball wasn't as disciplined as it should have been. Luis Reece was pretty severe on all of their bowlers, and by the time Graeme White got rid of him, it was too little too late for the Northants. Falcons eventually overhauled the total with six wickets in hand and a couple of overs to spare.
Richard Levi, Adam Rossington, Josh Cobb, Alex Wakely, Dwaine Pretorius, Rob Keogh, Matt Coles, Faheem Ashraf, Graeme White, Nathan Buck, Ben Sanderson.
As compared to Northamptonshire Steelbacks, the situation for the Jets is a lot better. In the tournament so far, Durham have won half of their games, winning and losing on an alternate basis. They have three wins out of a total of six matches played, and another win here will push them to the third spot.
They are coming off a narrow loss in their previous match, to Lancashire Lightning and as they've always done in this edition, they'll be looking to bounce back to winning ways after facing the defeat.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Durham Jets' danger-man D'Arcy Short could've been dismissed on his first delivery which would have hampered their plans, but he survived to live for a few more overs. Short and Clark partnered to take them across the fifty-run mark, but once both of them were dismissed, Durham Jets could not get going and were eventually skittled for a total of 139.
While it wasn't an easy target to defend despite Durham playing at home, the match turned out to be a lot tighter than expected. All of their bowlers excluding Potts bowled in tight channels and had it not been for Liam Livingstone's spectacular innings for Lancashire; the Jets might have ended on the right side of the result.
Scott Steel, D'Arcy Short, Graham Clark, Jack Burnham, Alex Lees, Peter Handscomb, Stuart Poynter, Brydon Carse, Liam Trevaskis, Matthew Potts, Nathan Rimmington.
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While Durham Jet have had a better tournament on the whole as compared to the Steelbacks, they too have plenty of issues to take care of. Their over-reliance on their openers have well and truly been highlighted in most of their matches, and they'll be looking to sort out the prevalent issues pertaining to inconsistency with both bat and ball. Northamptonshire, on the other hand, did reasonably well in the last match, but have been dismal by large, to say the least. Comparing the two teams on paper and on the basis of form in the tournament, Durham Jets are better placed to emerge on top in their away game on Wednesday.
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