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Adding on to the popularity of cricket after England's World Cup win, the ticket sales are soaring at record highs in T20 Blast with most counties having most of their matches sold-out. Not only because of the post World Cup buzz has the tournament become popular, but the quality of cricket being played has also seen a tremendous upshift in this season. Northamptonshire, however, have failed to showcase anything of substance and are currently languishing at the bottom of the North Group table. Although a win in their next game won't be enough to push them into the top-four, it will undoubtedly be enough to bring them back into the contention. They are set to play Birmingham Bears on 26th July at County Ground, Northampton. Birmingham Bears are coming off a massive win over Derbyshire and will be looking to build on to their momentum.
Northamptonshire have played two matches in the tournament so far and have looked convincing in neither of those. In their first match, against Durham, they struggled to get going on a decent batting surface and ended up scoring 141 chasing a modest target of 148.
Against Notts, more recently, they displayed a slightly better performance with the bat, but that too didn't prove to be enough as their bowling couldn't keep Nottinghamshire quiet. With two scores close to 150 in two matches, Northamptonshire's batting is struggling, saying the least.
Their bowling, however, appears to be doing a good job but will need more support from their batsmen in the upcoming fixtures. Barring Dwayne Pretorious, who has been one of the few players to get to the double figures, only Adam Rossington has looked comfortable at the crease from their top order. All in all, they have a decent side well suited to play in the shortest version of the game, but lack of collective team effort is hurting them, which they'll be looking to get better with, in the matches to come.
Ben Curran, Adam Rossington, Josh Cobb, Alex Wakely, Rob Keogh, Dwaine Pretorius, Faheem Ashraf, Graeme White, Matt Coles, Nathan Buck, Ben Sanderson.
Quite contrary to everyone's expectations, a side filled with a lot of experienced players and not so flashy ones are currently at the top of North Group points table, and the credit must be given to their excellent batting in both their completed matches.
Although it was a small total of 116 to chase down in their fixture against Leicestershire, they scored it in quick time on a surface which was not the easiest to bat on. Their bowlers, however, were the ones to set up that game for them. In their subsequent encounter, their batters joined the party as the Bears scored a monumental total of 205.
Their bowlers then bowled tight and accurate lines and lengths to keep Derbyshire batsmen in check as Warwickshire closed the match with a 49-run victory. Coming into the tournament, they were perceived to lack the flamboyance and fire-power to hit the long ball in the middle overs, but their last match's performance has cleared all the doubts concerning their bowling. All in all, they have a pretty good side on paper, and with momentum built on the back of two good wins, they won't be easy to hunt down.
Ed Pollock, Michael Burgess , Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Ashton Agar, Will Rhodes, Liam Banks, James Wainman, Jeetan Patel, Henry Brookes, FH Edwards.
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Considering the performances of the two sides in this edition of the Vitality T20 Blast, Warwickshire are far ahead of Northamptonshire. Having said that, Northants have played both their matches away, and home advantage is known to make a lot of difference in T20 Blast. They have shown plenty of vulnerabilities in their batting department which the Bears will be looking to exploit. We think that despite being the away team, Bears are better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture, mainly because of their strong performance in the tournament so far.
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