About the Match
The defending champions Northamptonshire Steelbacks have the opportunity to go top of the table against the Birmingham Bears in a top of the table clash. Both the teams are coming off wins in their last match and should be feeling pretty confident ahead of this important encounter.
The Northants team would be well rested for this encounter considering that their last scheduled match was washed out completely and so they have now had a four-day gap between matches. Of course, this is something that could be a good or a bad thing since the rhythm of playing continuously also is advantageous.
The Steelbacks continue to play T20 cricket like second nature, though and are following a similar template to last season. Their top order has been fantastic so far led by Ben Duckett with 192 runs to his name and Richard Levi 176 from only three innings!
With Rossington, Wakely and Keogh also in the runs this season, Northants can never be counted out of the match.
What is also very impressive about Levi is the fact that he has hit 11 sixes in his three innings already and is currently matching the likes of Ingram and Madsen for destructive potential.
Among the bowling, Rory Kleiveldt has been far and away the best bowler for Northants and his contribution will continue to be crucial in the upcoming matches. The Bears have a decent batting lineup themselves and how Kleinveldt fares against them could go a long way in determining the winner of this match.
Playing his first match of the season, Adam Hose made the telling contribution that allowed the Birmingham Bears to beat Lancashire in a tight match. It is not often that a Jos Buttler special is pushed out of the limelight but Hose with his 76 from 43 balls including five sixes did exactly that.
It will also give the Bears a much-needed boost in their middle order.
Now, with Hain, Hose, Elliot and de Grandhomme, this Warwickshire lineup is looking seriously threatening. Ian Bell at the top has been consistent without being destructive and the Bears would be hoping that he can continue to be the stabilizing force for this team.
Our personal opinion is that Bell actually harms the team if he stays in for too long and he should ideally be used a floater according to the situation.
Jeep Patel went wicketless in the last match but continued to be economical. His tournament haul of 12 wickets is second on the list of wicket takers in the entire league. Add to that his impressive economy rate of 6.15 for the entire tournament and we are looking at one of the most valuable bowlers in this format of the game.
With Boyd Rankin, Grant Elliot and Hannon-Dalby also pulling their weight, the Birmingham bowling lineup is not half bad either.
We think that Birmingham will need most of their players to stay in-form to be in contention but they definitely have the talent to reach the finals day this year.
Pitch and Conditions
It is a rainy day in Northamptonshire but the forecast is for improving weather as the day goes on. Hopefully, we should be able to get in most of the match and not a five over lottery. The pitch will be a batting paradise allowing strokemakers every opportunity to showcase their wares.
Northamptonshire to wi