The Steelbacks travel to Old Trafford tonight in the NatWest T20 Blast, to take on second placed Lancashire Lightning in what has been described as a must-win game by skipper Kyle Coetzer.
The Steelbacks have hit a road block in this season’s NatWest T20 Blast, having lost their last three games and really need to get back on the winning trail, in order to defend their T20 crown.
Last night things did not go according to plan for the Steelbacks, as they travelled to Edgbaston to take on a Birmingham Bears side that included the returning Jonathan Trott. Thanks to some tight swing bowling from the likes of Rikki Clarke and Chris Wright, the Steelbacks got off to a slow start. However, Steven Crook came in and hit an unbeaten 51 from 36 balls, to see the Steelbacks to 133/7 from 20 overs. In reply, the Bears paced themselves well, with their skipper Varun Chopra leading by example, hitting 68 from 44, as Birmingham won by 8 wickets.
Lancashire have made a strong start to their NatWest T20 Blast campaign, having won five of their first seven games and currently sit seventh in the North Division. In their last game, Lancashire hosted the dangerous Leicestershire Foxes. Thanks to a half century from Tom Smith, Lancashire reached 166/7 from their 20 overs. Junaid Khan then led the Lancashire attack, as he took 3 for 30, as Leicestershire fell 9 runs shy of their target.
Lancashire possesses a very well-balanced side, with Junaid Khan and Kabir Ali leading the pace attack, whilst the likes of Stephen Parry tie the opposing batsmen up with spin. Their balance is very evident in the batting line-up, with three players, Tom Smith, Karl Brown and Paul Horton all averaging over 30. Steelbacks fans will want to keep an eye out on any changes to the Lancashire line-up, with Andrew Flintoff named in the squad as cover.
The same 14 man squad that travelled to Edgbaston yesterday, will go to Old Trafford.
Muhammad Azhar Ullah