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The North Group points table in Vitality T20 Blast is tightly packed at the top with not much difference between Worcestershire, who are currently placed at the second spot, and Northamptonshire Steelbacks, who are at the second spot from the bottom. In between these two, at the sixth spot, are Birmingham Bears, who will be looking to march ahead in the last few matches in the tournament. They are still in with a chance to qualify for the next round but would need to win most of their games beginning with the next one, which is against Worcestershire Rapids. The two teams are set to lock horns on August 23rd, at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.
Although Warwickshire are a couple of notches below the cut-off spot to qualify for the next round, they are in with a realistic chance. A couple of consecutive wins should be enough for them to announce their candidature for the playoffs.
In the ten matches played, they've managed to win just three and have lost four with the rest of their matches washed out due to rain. The Bears had a pretty good start to the tournament, but just one win of their last seven games has put them in a position of concern.
While Fidel Edwards was brilliant for them in the first few matches, his form in the last three T20 games has been listless. However, he bowled fantastically in the longest version of the game in their recent-most encounter and will be looking to replicate his performance. Overall, they've done ordinary at best, but are certainly a more capable side on paper than they've displayed on the field. With each match carrying immense importance hereon, we expect them to step up their game.
Dominic Sibley, Sam Hain, Adam Hose, Will Rhodes, Matthew Lamb, Michael Burgess , Christopher Green, Alex Thomson, Henry Brookes, Jeetan Patel, Oliver Hannon-Dalby.
Even though Worcestershire Rapids are nicely placed at the second place in the points table, their performance this year has been far from what it was like last year. They were brilliant in the previous edition of the tournament and eventually went on to win the title. The addition of Moeen Ali, who was dropped from the Ashes squad for Jack Leach, is likely to make a massive difference to the balance of their team.
In ten matches they've played so far, Worcestershire have won more matches than they've lost. They have won five games while two of their games were washed out due to rain. They are coming off a brilliant win in their last encounter, over Durham Jets, which should give plenty of boost their confidence.
While it's been their batting which has been responsible for keeping them afloat at the top of the table, it was their bowling in the last match which set up a superb win for them. Defending a below-par score on a decent batting surface, Pat Brown, Wayne Parnell, and Daryl Mitchell were phenomenal as they restricted the Jets to just 114 in 20 overs. With batting and bowling complementing each other with good effect, beating Worcestershire is not going to be easy for any team in the tournament going forward.
Martin Guptill, Riki Wessels, Moeen Ali, Hamish Rutherford, WD Parnell, Ben Cox, Ross Whiteley, Ed Barnard, Daryl Mitchell, Dillon Pennington, Patrick Brown.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team prediction for the Vitality T20 match to be played between Worcestershire Rapids and Birmingham Bears
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The competition will be fierce, and adrenaline will be running high on Friday evening when the two teams face each other in this local derby encounter. Edgbaston is already sold-out, and a feast is undoubtedly on for the fans on Friday. The two sides have had contrasting fates in the tournament so far, and we expect that to continue on Friday as well. With a better team on paper and performance-wise in the competition so far, Worcestershire Rapids are firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture as well.
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