The Vitality Blast stops for a week for a round of LV County Championship matches to take place. They begin on Sunday when eight fixtures take to the field around the country in a week which could be hugely significant.
There are four matches in each division taking place this week but with the Test match getting the TV attention we are once again resigned to the county streams to follow what should be a good week of action.
Surrey still haven’t been beaten in a first-team match this season either in the County Championship or the Vitality Blast and they will be looking to keep up that record when they make the trip to Taunton to take on a Somerset who have had a great time in white ball cricket over the last couple of weeks. The big match of the week comes at the Ageas Bowl where second placed Hampshire host third placed Yorkshire. The other two matches sees the top two from last season looking to revive their title chances when Warwickshire host Lancashire while the bottom two meet at Canterbury when Kent play host to Gloucestershire.
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All eight sides are on show in the second division this week which means that the leaders Middlesex will have the chance to maintain their lead at the top of the table when they head to Derbyshire. Nottinghamshire are in second place and will be hoping to close in on Middlesex when they head to bottom of the pile Leicestershire while Durham welcome Worcestershire to Chester-le-Street. The other match sees Glamorgan taking on Sussex in Cardiff with both sides needing to win that to stay competitive for the season.
Lancashire are missing a lot of players for their trip to the champions Warwickshire so I’m a little surprised that the home side are the outsiders in this match. I think it is fair to say that Warwickshire weren’t at their best in the first part of the season but a lot of the reason for that is injuries to their bowling attack. That attack has had a month to rest and they have Liam Norwell back for this fixture which could be crucial because I don’t think he’s far from being the next cab off the rank as far as England are concerned.
Speaking of England, Lancashire have just lost a bunch of players that they had available in the first part of the campaign to England. Jimmy Anderson is with the Test squad while Phil Salt and Luke Wood are with the ODI squad so all three miss this match. Throw in that Hassan Ali has gone back to Pakistan and Saqib Mahmood and Jack Blatherwick are both injured and you have a much lighter looking Lancashire side on show here. I would imagine this game comes at a bad time for Lancashire who are going great guns in the Vitality Blast and so I like the champions in this one.
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