We are down to the one Vitality Blast match on Monday evening as the competition continues to head closer towards the halfway mark of the group stage. The action comes from the North Group where Yorkshire play host to Nottinghamshire at Headingley.
The Test match was due to form the TV coverage over the course of Monday but even though it finished earlier than planned there is no time to get cameras up to Leeds so we will be relying on the live stream for the coverage of this one.
It has been a mixed start to the campaign for Yorkshire. I think we have to cut them a little bit of slack because they have had a lot of players coming and going in the first week or so of the campaign. They will have been delighted to have beaten Worcestershire and Durham on home soil but defeats to Derbyshire and Leicestershire as well as a tie in the Roses clash when they were probably in front in the final over leaves them a little off the pace but nothing that a win here wouldn’t sort out.
It was important that Yorkshire started the season well because they are playing their home matches early in the campaign due to Headingley hosting a Test match later in the month. A win here would leave them on seven points from six matches and needing to win four of their last eight to make it through to finals day and even though six of them will be on the road, that doesn’t feel impossible. The other reason why they need to maximise this early part of the season is England will come calling for international players when the white ball stuff comes around next week.
We are used to seeing Nottinghamshire dominate the group phase of this competition before the pressure sometimes gets a little too much for them in the knockout stages, however they haven’t come out of the blocks particularly well and are lacking a bit of consistency. They have a couple of pretty big margin wins under their belt and an even heavier defeat as well as an unlucky loss to the Birmingham Bears and a washout which they were probably behind the game in when the rain came around.
Five points from their opening five matches is a fair enough start it just isn’t the start that we would usually associate with them nor is it the start we would have expected given the personnel they have in their ranks. It is hard to see where it has gone wrong. I don’t think their top three have really hit form together at any point yet while they appear to be rotating their bowlers looking for the right combination. You would think they will get it right eventually but a defeat here could leave them scrapping throughout the entire group stage rather than cruising into the quarter final which they usually do.
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I think we’ve seen in the last few days that the only way to beat Nottinghamshire is to make sure you score a boat load of runs so with that in mind Yorkshire will need a fast start. The attention could turn to Finn Allen to get them up and running.
If Alex Hales fires for Nottinghamshire he scores at such a run rate that they almost certainly win any game. He has a flat pitch to hit through the line on and since that new stand appeared the straight boundary at Headingley has got very short so the opener could have some real fun here.
There have been four matches at Headingley this season and three of them have been won by the chasing side. That is no surprise because as I highlighted above that new stand has made one of the straight boundaries here incredibly short. It isn’t exactly a big ground on the other parts either. It is also a decent white ball wicket at Headingley these days so until we know the result of the toss and who will be batting second it is near enough impossible to predict the winner of the match.
That leads me to the side markets where I think sixes are going to come regularly in this match. When I look at the batters potentially on show in this match I can’t see how they don’t. We have Finn Allen, Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, David Willey, potentially Harry Brook and Dawid Malan as well as Jordan Thompson for Yorkshire and then Joe Clarke, Alex Hales, Ben Duckett, Tom Moores, Dan Christian and others for Nottinghamshire. The line for this match is 13.5 and on this ground where bowling isn’t easy at the best of times let alone in potentially slick conditions after overnight rain I’m expecting this line to cover fairly easily. There were 16 sixes in the opening match of the season on this ground and 17 in the last one. I would say that Nottinghamshire are the most aggressive batting team to have come here this season so I expect the 13.5 line to be covered.
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