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|Colin de Grandhomme||11||9||2||0||122.22|
The Birmingham Bears have a very slim chance of making into the quarter-finals as they not only need to win their last two games of the Vitality Blast 2018 but also need to hope that a lot of other results go their way. At this point in time, we would recommend the Bears fans to not hold their breath.
Their opponent in this match is a side that has already secured a quarter-final berth and is now in search of a home venue for the same. Lancashire has rediscovered its form at just the right time in the competition and will go top of the table if it wins this match.
Birmingham traveled to London and lost to Lancashire in its last match but now has a chance to take revenge in the return fixture. A loss by 37 runs is a pretty big margin in T20 cricket and Birmingham would be smarting.
The side has a very good batting lineup but it failed to come to close to the 186 Lancashire had set in the last game.
The Birmingham success this season has been built on its batting. Ian Bell is the only player to have scored more than 500 runs in the competition so far and is in sparkling touch. The Bears would be hoping desperately that Ian Bell can add to his tally and give them hope of sneaking through.
He is not going to be able to do the job for Birmingham alone and players like Hain, Pollock, and Hose need to come to the party. This batting lineup also has Colin de Grandhomme and Grant Elliot in the lower middle order to help stabilize things in case a few wickets fall early so there is really no need for the top-order to hold back.
The bowling lineup of Thomson, Patel, Poysden, Thomason, and Elliot should be good enough to Lancashire a fight as well. If Birmingham’s bowling unit can nip out Alex Davies fro Lancashire early then Birmingham has an excellent chance.
The problem so far for the team has been in putting in complete performances, though, and there is no longer any margin of error.
Ed Pollock, Ian Bell, Adam Hose, Sam Hain, Colin de Grandhomme, Grant Elliott, Aaron Thomason, Tim Ambrose, Jeetan Patel, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Josh Poysden.
If Birmingham has the highest run-scorer in its side then Lancashire is not too far behind either with the second highest scorer leading its batting unit. Alex Davies has 497 runs to his name and has been absolutely spectacular for Lancashire.
He has not let the loss of Liam Livingstone to injury affect his batting outlook and continues to play with freedom. His 64 in the last match against Durham was enough to lead Lancashire to victory once again.
Lancashire is not going to be looking to do anything too drastically different against Birmingham in this match. They have already qualified for the quarter-finals and this is their final group game of the season. A win here will lead to a home quarter-final but a loss really does not matter too much in the larger scheme of things.
Expect Davies, Brown, and Lilley to go hard at the top with support from Vilas and Clark in the middle order. We have been harping on this for quite some time now but we would love to Faulkner given a chance higher up the order. He is an excellent finisher and could be needed in the crucial upcoming matches.
The Lancashire batting is in good shape, especially with Livingstone expected to be fit for selection soon as well.
The bowling was very good in the last match. James Faulkner took two wickets up front and gave away just three runs in his two overs. Lester also had similar figures of two wickets for five runs from his two overs.
The pair broke the back of the Durham batting and will want to do the same to Birmingham in this match. Parkinson and Zahir Khan are also very good in the middle overs, constantly probing for wickets, although occasionally going for runs.
Alex Davies, Karl Brown, Arron Lilley, DJ Vilas, Josh Bohannon, Steven Croft, James Faulkner, Danny Lamb, MRJ Watt, Matt Parkinson, Zahir Khan.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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A cloudy day with around a 10% chance of rain has been forecast for match day. That should be good news for Birmingham because they cannot afford a washout. The pitch at Edgbaston is usually pretty good for batting with a little something in it for the bowlers, especially with clouds around. A score of around 180 should be seen as par.
Birmingham has beaten Lancashire in three out of the last five matches they have played against each other. They have the team to win this match but could end up faltering if they try to come too hard at Lancashire. Still, we think home conditions, a good batting lineup, and motivation to try and sneak through will edge things in their favor.
Back Birmingham to win.