The Steelbacks return to NatWest T20 Blast action on Friday night, as they host the Yorkshire Vikings, in what is sure to be a brilliant game.
The Steelbacks currently sit fifth in the North group, having won two of their first four games and having one of the games abandoned, leaving them three points behind the leaders Worcestershire and Lancashire. Victory against Yorkshire will move the reigning T20 Champions into a vital top four place.
Things did not go according to plan for the Steelbacks last time out, as the team travelled to New Road, to take on Worcestershire Rapids. Expecting the pitch to be conducive to spin, David Ripley decided to play an extra spinner in James Middlebrook. The Steelbacks got off to a great start, with David Willey hitting the Worcestershire bowlers out of the ground. However, the Worcestershire spinners managed to tie down the Steelbacks batsmen, as the visitors finished on 134/7. Worcestershire got off to an equally quick start, but didn’t slow down, as they came away with a 5 wicket victory, thanks to an excellent 77 from Richard Oliver.
Yorkshire’s last game saw them take on Lancashire Lightning in a war of the roses match at Old Trafford. On what was a good batting pitch, Lancashire score 179/6, thanks to half centuries from Paul Horton and Tom Smith. The pick of the Yorkshire bowlers were Adil Rashid and Oliver Robinson, who took two wickets each. Yorkshire managed to chase down the Lancashire total with three balls to spare, thanks to a brilliant 88 from 55 balls, from Australian opener Aaron Finch.
Yorkshire’s overseas opening batsman, Aaron Finch will be the one to watch this Friday, as he is one of the best T20 batsmen in the world, and holds the world record for the highest score in a T20 International. Whilst Jack Brooks will be looking to take some wickets against his former team.
The last time these two sides met, was on the opening night of this season’s NatWest T20 Blast, at Headingley. In what was a roller coaster game, the Steelbacks managed to come away with a victory. Yorkshire batted first and thanks to a late surge from Tim Bresnan and Liam Plunkett, finished on 162/7, Ian Butler was the pick of the bowlers, taking four wickets in his first game for the County. Richard Levi and David Willey got the Steelbacks off to a strong start, before Yorkshire started reeling the visitors back in. However, thanks to a composed 39 not out from Ben Duckett, the Steelbacks won by 3 wickets with just 1 ball to spare.
There are a couple of changes to the Steelbacks squad following the defeat to Worcestershire a fortnight ago.
Olly Stone returns to the squad after recovering from injury.
Whilst Maurice Chambers and James Middlebrook are not part of the thirteen man squad.
Muhammad Azhar Ullah