The Steelbacks host Worcestershire Rapids on Friday night, and it is now make or break time for the team in the NatWest T20 Blast.
Last Time the Sides Met
These two sides last met at the end of May at New Road. Steelbacks openers Richard Levi and David Willey got the visitors off to a quick start, putting on 56 in under six overs for the first wicket. However, after both openers fell, the Steelbacks’ run rate slowed down significantly, as the Worcestershire spinners led by Saeed Ajmal tied the batsmen up, as the visitors finished on 134/7.
In reply the Worcestershire openers also got off to a good start, with Richard Oliver scoring his maiden half-century for Worcestershire, smashing 77 from 43 balls. Oliver and fellow opener and England man Moeen Ali put on 87 runs for the first wicket, as the visitors cruised to their target, winning by five wickets.
The Steelbacks’ last game saw them host the Derbyshire Falcons here at the County Ground. Kyle Coetzer put the visitors into bat first and David Willey made an early breakthrough removing Chesney Hughes for 2. The Steelbacks seemed to be on top, until a late cameo from Tom Knight who scored 44, helped Derbyshire finish on 191/6.
Richard Levi gave the hosts a brilliant start as he hit 69 from 37 balls, in a man of the match performance. This helped the Steelbacks cruise to victory, with Graeme White finishing the game off with two big sixes, as the hosts won by four wickets with four wickets remaining.
Last week, Worcestershire made the short trip to Edgabston to take on Birmingham Bears. Batting first the visitors scored 175/6, with Tom Kohler-Cadmore starring with the bat, hitting 51 from 33 balls. In reply, a 74 from opener and captain Varun Chopra helped the hosts go against the form book and win by five wickets.
Ones to Watch
Worcestershire are well led by skipper and opener Daryl Mitchell, who has scored 309 runs at an average of 44, including three half centuries. Whilst with the ball, the Steelbacks will be pleased to see that Saeed Ajmal won’t be playing as he joins up with the Pakistan squad to prepare for their tour of Sri Lanka. However Chris Russell has been very impressive this season, having taken 16 wickets at an average of 17.5.
David Ripley has named an unchanged squad to face Worcestershire tomorrow night.
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Muhammad Azhar Ullah