The Steelbacks look to gain some revenge on the Birmingham Bears here at the County Ground on Thursday night in the NatWest T20 Blast.
Last time the sides met
These two sides met a fortnight ago at Edgbaston, where tight bowling from Rikki Clarke and a half century from Varun Chopra led the Bears to victory. Clarke opened the bowling, and with conditions helping the ball swing quite a bit, finished with figures of 1 for 8 from his four overs, as the Steelbacks had an uncharacteristically slow start. Steven Crook led the Steelbacks fight back, as he hit 51 from 36 balls, to help the visitors finish on 133/7. In reply, the Bears got off to a much better start, putting on 91 in just under ten overs for the first wicket. Although Jonathan Trott on his return to cricket fell just six runs later, the Bears reached their target with ease, winning by eight wickets.
The Steelbacks’ last game was unfortunately ended prematurely by the weather, as their clash with Durham Jets at the County Ground was abandoned after 10 overs. The hosts would have been cursing their bad luck, as they made a great start limiting Durham to 69/4 from 10 overs, with Olly Stone taking two wickets. To add salt to the wounds, David Sales went down injured, as he damaged his ankle ligaments just a few balls before the players came off due to rain.
Birmingham were upset by Derbyshire last week at the 3aaa County Ground, as the hosts won by three wickets. Irish opener William Porterfield and Jonathon Webb both impressed for the visitors as they scored 74 and 54 respectively, helping the Bears score 189/5. In reply, Derbyshire were led tremendously by opener Wes Durston who scored 53 and skipper Wayne Madsen who finished on 42, as the hosts managed to reach their target with six balls to spare, as they won by three wickets.
Ones to Watch
The Bears have a well-balanced side that could beat any team with both bat and ball. One to watch with the bat will be opener William Porterfield, who is his side’s leading scorer, with 233 runs at an average of 33 in the NatWest T20 Blast. Whilst with the ball, the ever dependable New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel is the team’s top wicket taker with 9 wickets, whilst not giving much away as he averages 16.5.
There are a couple of changes to the squad that faced Durham Jets last week.
David Sales and Rob Keogh drop out of the squad due to injury.
Replacing the pair in the 13-man squad are skipper Kyler Coetzer who returns after injury, James Kettleborough and Maurice Chambers.
Muhammad Azhar Ullah