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|Colin de Grandhomme||4.0||0||24||2||6.00|
Twenty20 flavor returns to England with a promise of two months full of frantic, fast-paced, and entertaining Cricket. The Vitality T20 Blast will commence with the opening match to be played between the last year's finalists. Nottinghamshire Outlaws will host Birmingham Bears in the opening game on 4th July 2018. The Outlaws ended up lifting the trophy after defeating the Bears by 22 runs. Birmingham Bears will be keen to shrug that loss off and take revenge in the opening encounter of the season. Both the sides will be looking to register a win here and take the momentum, which can be crucial in this format, further into the tournament.
The return of their overseas player and skipper, Dan Christan, will boost the morale of the defending champions. Dan Christan has been terrific for the Outlaws at Trent Bridge. Riki Wessels, who was the leading runs scorer for the Outlaws last year, will be a key figure in batting and a lot will rest on his shoulders.
The defending champions are full of players who have good experience of playing in pressure situations. Samit Patel has been around for quite some time and his bowling, as well as middle-order batting, was match-defining on many occasions in the last season. Leg spinners were the popular commodity in the Indian Premier League and it has rubbed onto the Vitality T20 Blast as well. Ish Sodhi, who did well for the Rajasthan Royals earlier this year, will have a vital role to play for Nottinghamshire.
While Nottinghamshire have the services of the most of their players, the absence of Alex Hales, Paul Coughlin, and Jake Ball could have a telling impact on their approach. Notts depended heavily on Hales to provide them with quick starts but national commitments will keep Hales away from the T20 season at least for a first few games. Jake Ball, too, will miss the opening encounter due to the same reason. Although Paul Coughlin is getting better as far as recovery from the dislocated shoulder is concerned, he will be unavailable to play the opening game. The Outlaws are one of the most experienced sides of this T20 competition, but the absence of Hales and Ball could hurt them which they'd have to be wary of.
Chris Nash, Riki Wessels, Tom Moores, SR Patel, DT Christian, Steven Mullaney, Billy Root, Luke Fletcher, Jake Ball, IS Sodhi, Harry Gurney.
The Bears head into the tournament after finishing second on the points table last year. The team is an excellent amalgamation of youth and experience. Kiwi veteran Grant Eliott captains the side which has the services of another Kiwi player in Colin de Grandhomme. Colin de Grandhomme had a reasonably good IPL season and he'd have a lot of experiences to share which could be helpful for the young team.
Jeetan Patel was a key figure last year as he picked up 20 wickets at a decent economy rate. With wrist spinners in trend, Josh Posyden's legspin will have a huge role to play for Bears to have an impact similar to last year. Sam Hain stylish play has earned him many fans and a lot will depend on his performance for Birmingham Bears. Hain playing alongside Hain will be a treat to watch for the fans.
Like the Outlaws, the Bears too will be missing a key player due to the international commitment. To sum it up, the Bears were one of the most consistent sides of the last edition and with the kind of balance their team has, it wouldn't be surprising if we see similar stuff from them yet again.
Ed Pollock, Will Rhodes, Sam Hain, Ian Bell, Adam Hose, Grant Elliott, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Ambrose, Jeetan Patel, Henry Brookes, Oliver Hannon-Dalby.
Thanks to excellent batting surface and small boundaries, no total will be safe to defend here. Expect the team winning the toss to bowl first.
It is the same ground where we saw England score 481 against Australia last month. Short boundaries and flat-deck are perfect ingredients of yet another high-scoring process. The team batting first will need at least 200 while batting first.
Ashley Giles assembled a young but confident and brave side last year which performed brilliantly. Though they were beaten finalists, their performance and consistency throughout the tournament was remarkable. Notts, on the other hand, will bank upon a tried and tested combination of players which reaped the ultimate reward last year. While the contest could go either way, Notts are more stable of the two sides on paper and with the services of experienced players in all departments, expect them to edge Bears in the opening encounter of Vitality T20 Blast.