T20 Blast 2018: Leicestershire vs Lancashire preview and expected playing XI
Leicestershire and Lancashire, two North Group teams, are set to lock horns at Grace Road, Leicester on Wednesday, July 18.
Leicestershire started their Vitality T20 Blast campaign with a win but failed to continue their winning momentum and moved down in the points table. Lancashire, on the other hand, didn't have a good start but have now won three games in a row after the first game.
As of today, Lancashire stands at second place and Leicestershire stands at sixth place in the points table. However, a win for Leicestershire would make them go straight ahead to compete for the second place with Lancashire themselves, depending on their run rate.
After losing two games in a row, Leicester have made a comeback with a convincing win in their fourth game against Warwickshire. All-rounder Ben Raine played a monstrous knock; he hit 113 off 46 balls (the fastest in the club's history).
Raine has been good with the ball as well. Spinners Callum Parkinson, Mohammad Nabi and Colin Ackermann also succeeded in the last game; Parkinson in particular was pretty impressive with four scalps.
In the batting department, only Raine and Ackerman have come handy so far in the tournament for Leicester. They have a good batting lineup, but top order batsmen Cameron Delport, Neil Dexter and Mark Cosgrove are to yet to show their quality.
With a chance to climb up four places in one shot, Leicestershire will give their best to win this game. Their best chance would be if their top order fires. As there are no changes in the 14-man squad announced, Leicester are expected to field the same XI that had played the last game.
Expected Playing XI: Cameron Delport, Neil Dexter, Mark Cosgrove, Ben Raine, Colin Ackermann (c), Ned Eckersley (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Tom Wells, Zak Chappell, Callum Parkinson, Mohammad Abbas.
Having won three games in a row, Lancashire are now riding an ocean of confidence - which would make it difficult for any opposition to defeat them. That said, no one except bowlers Matthew Parkinson and Toby Lester played particularly well in their last game, with the latter picking four wickets.
Lancashire's opening pair Alex Davies and Livingstone have been consistent so far in the tournament. Livingstone has been good with the ball too and middle order batsman Keaton Jennings has also been bowling every now and then.
Stephen Parry, Toby Lester, Matthew Parkinson and Australia's James Faulkner have been reliable in the bowling department. All-rounder Jordan Clark could be a crucial factor too; he might come handy in case the top order collapses.
With their place in the points table at stake, Lancashire wouldn't want to lose their winning streak. The opening pair would be expected to give a good start once again, while wicket-keeper Dane Vilas and middle order batsman Keaton Jennings could also help.
Lancashire are also not expected to make any changes as there's no change in their 14-man squad, although Karl Brown could replace one of Steven Croft or Aron Lilley, both of whom haven't been effective.
Expected Playing XI: Liam Livingstone (c), Alex Davies (wk), Arron Lilley, Keaton Jennings, Dane Vilas, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, James Faulkner, Toby Lester, Stephen Parry, Matthew Parkinson.
Prediction: Leicestershire to win.