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|Colin de Grandhomme||12||7||0||1||171.43|
The Vitality Blast 2018 has been extremely competitive and there is only one team that has failed to win a match so far, Northamptonshire. The team will have another opportunity to make amends as it takes on Birmingham in a bottom of the table clash. Birmingham is just above Northamptonshire in the table standings but it has three wins to its name and a couple more will put it back in the middle of the pack.
Can Northamptonshire find a way to break its duck this season or will it be an easy win for Birmingham?
Northamptonshire seemed to be getting a hold of its batting this season with scores of 180 or more in three consecutive games but its last two batting performances have been disastrous. Bowled out for 95 against Durham and managing to get only 129 against Yorkshire shows that pretty much everything is going wrong for Northamptonshire.
This is a team that banks on its batting to do the job for them on most occasions. Up until this recent spate of losses, it appeared that it was the bowling that needed to be fixed but now the management has a lot more problems.
Duckett, Wakely, Levi, and Cobb have been unable to play to the consistency that they showed last season. Duckett has slowed down after an excellent start to the season while Levi has played one brilliant inning in between some atrocious ones.
It is difficult to know at this stage of the competition what the Northamptonshire game plan is.
The problems with the bowling have also not gone away at the moment. Gleeson has added a little to the attack but the lack of control and wickets from senior bowlers like Kleinveldt, Prasanna, and Buck has been a real issue.
Things look grim for Northamptonshire right now and it will take some individual brilliance to pull the team out of its current rut.
Ricardo Vasconcelos, Ben Duckett, Josh Cobb, Alex Wakely, Steven Crook, Charlie Thurston, S Prasanna, Brett Hutton, Nathan Buck, Richard Gleeson, Ben Sanderson.
The Birmingham cricket team has been a little unlucky in our opinion over the last few weeks. They have played some incredible matches and not been able to convert those performances into wins. Had a few small things gone their way they could have well had another couple of wins to their name.
The person leading the charge for the Birmingham Bears has been Ian Bell. He has proved his naysayers wrong about not being good enough for this format and has scored 428 runs already. The fact that his runs are coming at an incredible strike rate of 148.09 should be music to the ears of all Birmingham fans.
Bell has got excellent support from Hain, de Grandhomme, Hose, and Pollock. All things considered, there is plenty of power in this batting lineup and the form of most of the leading players is pretty good as well.
Perhaps the lack of runs from Grant Elliot would be the only real concern for Birmingham’s batting unit.
With this Birmingham side, it appears that chasing is what brings the best out of them.
The bowling for Birmingham has been led by Jeetan Patel who continues to be brilliantly economical. His economy rate is just above 8 but the standout bowler in the attack has been Grant Elliot.
13 wickets at an economy rate of just more than 8.11 is head and shoulders above the rest. Hannon-Dalby and Thomason have also started to find their radar of late and that should bring some positive things in the future.
We think this Birmingham side could be a little undervalued by the bookmakers right now because of its results but it has the potential to cause a lot of upsets going forward.
Ed Pollock, Ian Bell, Adam Hose, Sam Hain, Colin de Grandhomme, Grant Elliott, CR Woakes, Aaron Thomason, Tim Ambrose, Jeetan Patel, Olly Stone.
The team winning the toss is probably going to field first
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A clear day with only a 10% chance of rain has been forecast for the match. The pitch in Northampton has been excellent for batting and we expect the same this time around as well. Batsmen from both sides will need to be aggressive with the target they are setting if they bat first keeping in mind the surface as well as the opposition.
A score of around 190 can be considered par.
The first match between these two sides this year was a high scoring tie. Since then the two teams have failed to live up to their potential. Going into this match, we believe that Birmingham has the better set of players to be able to take full advantage of the conditions.
Back Birmingham to win.