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We have a mouth-watering clash to look forward to as the current table toppers of the North group, Worcestershire Rapids, take on an impressive Yorkshire Vikings side. Worcestershire is unbeaten in the tournament right now and has won all four of its matches so far. They will be aware of the challenge that Yorkshire poses and know that this is not going to be an easy task. Yorkshire also knows that it is in a tough group and cannot let its guard down. Two wins from three matches is a good start but Yorkshire is just one among 6 teams in the North group to have registered two wins already.
Lasts season’s terrible memories have been banished already as the Rapids have already won more matches than they did the entire last season. Can they keep the winning streak alive and stretch it to five matches?
Batting has been Worcestershire’s strong suit this season. Scoring 10 runs an over does not seem to be a problem for the team at all and this was evident in its rain curtailed contest against Northamptonshire. Martin Guptill, Joe Clarke, Ross Whiteley and Travis Head came together to smash six sixes and 14 boundaries in just 9 overs.
A score of 130 has been defended in 20 overs so it was a fair bet that Worcestershire would be able to do it in 9 overs. The return of Travis Head has meant that Callum Ferguson will have to sit out but that is not a bad thing at all.
Head is a ferocious striker of the ball and can really help propel the score forward at a fierce pace.
Perhaps another positive thing for Worcestershire is that none of their batsmen have really gone on and got the big score. That allows more players to get time in the middle and be in good touch. We are still backing Martin Guptill to get a massive score in the next couple of matches.
Oliveira, Mitchell, Brown, and Barnard continue to be disciplined for Worcestershire but it is Pennington who seems to be in the firing line come crunch time. His ability to contribute with both bat and ball provides greater stability to Worcestershire.
Martin Guptill, Joe Clarke, TM Head, Daryl Mitchell, Ben Cox, Brett D Oliveira, Ross Whiteley, Ed Barnard, Luke Wood, Patrick Brown, Dillon Pennington.
Two victories from three matches is not a bad start by Yorkshire but a look closer into their results shows that Yorkshire fans might want to be a little wary. Both the victories have come against Durham, a team that is perhaps the weakest among both groups. The one match that Yorkshire had against Birmingham, they lost very convincingly.
Now, coming up against the form team of the tournament so far is not going to be easy.
Runs for most of the top order suggests that the Yorkshire batting is in good form. Lyth, Tattersall, Balance, and Brook have all got good scores in the tournament and have a strike rate north of 140. Tom Kohler-Cadmore has been quiet with the bat so far but he is also too good a player to continue to fail.
Yorkshire’s batsmen will fancy themselves against the Worcestershire bowling. Sure, their bowlers are disciplined but there no one bowler that threatens to run through the top-order. Yorkshire will be hoping that a couple of its batsmen can get stuck in and really go on to get a big total.
The trusted Tim Bresnan has had another good start to the tournament. He is currently the most economical bowler of the team. He, along with Rafiq and Fisher, will be the bowlers to test the Worcestershire batsmen the most.
The punters are currently offering very similar odds on both teams which is a little odd in our opinion as Yorkshire certainly does not deserve the same billing as Worcestershire right now.
Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Harry Brook, GS Ballance, Jonathan Tattersall, Jack Leaning, TT Bresnan, Jordan Thompson, Azeem Rafiq, SA Patterson, Jack Brooks.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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A nice sunny day without much chance of rain has been forecast for match day. The dry weather has allowed groundsmen to prepare flat batting surfaces all over the country and Worcester is no different. There will be very little in it for any of the bowlers, perhaps, some spin if the ball is really given a tweak.
Other than that, it should be smooth sailing for the batsmen. A score of around 180 should be considered par.
Worcestershire has beaten Yorkshire in two out of the last three T20 matches between the two sides. We think they have a much stronger squad for this contest, especially in the batting department. Yorkshire is not out of the match by any stretch of the imagination but the odds do not justify a bet on the underdog at this point in time.
Back Worcestershire to win.