21st May: Chennai Super Kings v M. Indians, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Following the thrills of Friends Life t20 Finals Day yesterday, another of county cricket’s competitions is reaching its climax tomorrow, with the group stage of the Clydesdale Bank 40 coming to a conclusion. There are still three semi-final places up for grabs, with Lancashire the only side already through. We preview each of the games below.
Fixtures: (all matches start at 1245 GMT, 1345 local time)
Group A is the only group that is completely sorted. Lancashire have a home semi-final, presumably at Old Trafford, on 1st September, while none of the other sides can qualify as the best second-placed side.
Leicestershire v Gloucestershire at Grace Road
Gloucestershire welcome back Anthony Ireland, on loan from Middlesex in to their 13-man squad and have also included New Zealand overseas player Rob Nicol.
Middlesex v Essex at Lord’s
The Panthers have taken the opportunity to rest Chris Rogers, Toby Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh for this match, while Eoin Morgan is away with England. Paul Stirling is expected to return at the top of the order, while Josh Davey, Gurjit Sandhu and Corey Collymore are among the unexpected faces in the 12-man squad.
Worcestershire v Lancashire at New Road
Lancashire, having already qualified for the semi-finals, have a couple of new faces in their squad. Included are off-spinner Arron Lilley and fast-bowler Gavin Griffiths, with Gary Keedy and Glen Chapple rested.
Any one of Hampshire, Surrey or Somerset can progress from Group B, although only Hampshire have their destiny in their own hands. If they win against Durham, then they go through as group winners and could have a home semi-final if Kent lose to Sussex in Group C. It then gets a little complicated as, if Surrey win and Sussex lose that match at Canterbury, then they can qualify as best second-placed side even if Hampshire win. Somerset need both Hampshire and Surrey to lose and must win against the latter comfortably to increase their net run rate.
Durham v Hampshire at Chester-le-Street
Hampshire will face a weakened Durham side, as they have chosen to rest Paul Collingwood, Dale Benkenstein, Chris Rushworth and Graham Onions. Academy players Paul Coughlin and Ryan Pringle are included, with Johann Myburgh, Will Smith and Michael Richardson also among the 13 named. Hampshire are predictably without Dimitri Mascarenhas who bowled yesterday with a shoulder problem, but are otherwise likely to be unchanged following the Friends Life t20 triumph. This will be Neil McKenzie’s final appearance for Hampshire in 2012 as he returns home to prepare for the South African domestic season.
Nottinghamshire v Glamorgan at Trent Bridge
The Outlaws have rested Michael Lumb and Chris Read for the match against Glamorgan, with Riki Wessels donning the gloves. James Taylor returns from Test duty with England, with Neil Edwards expected to open alongside Alex Hales. Glamorgan are close to full-strength and have included James Harris, Gareth Rees and Andrew Salter in their 12-man squad.
Somerset v Surrey at Taunton
Surrey have included Kevin Pietersen in their 13-man squad, but are without Jade Dernbach, who is away with England. Tim Linley and Rory Burns also feature.
Group C is likely to yield the best second-place side, with probably two of Kent, Sussex or Warwickshire likely to progress. Warwickshire must win and will then be through regardless of what happens elsewhere. The match at Canterbury will decide pretty much everything else, including that in group B. If either side win, then they qualify with a home semi-final, but if they lose, or in the case of Sussex fail to win, then much depends on Warwickshire, Hampshire and Surrey as outlined above.
Derbyshire v Northamptonshire at Derby
Expect both Derbyshire and Northamptonshire to field young-looking teams as they rest their star players ahead of the LV= County Championship run-in.
Kent v Sussex at Canterbury
Sussex will want to bounce back from their disappointment at Finals Day with a win which would see them progress to the semi-finals. Meanwhile, the CB40 represents the only chance that Kent have of finishing 2012 with a piece of silverware.
Yorkshire v Warwickshire at Scarborough
Warwickshire will look to bounce back from what Ashley Giles called their “worst week” following their performance against Middlesex. Neil Carter has been included in the squad and could make his first first-team appearance since June if selected in the final eleven.
Weather Forecast: The rain returns for Bank Holiday Monday to further add to the chaos, with a band of it moving in from the west during the day. Most of England will be affected at some stage, but the east should enjoy the longest period of dry weather.
County News In Brief:
Nottinghamshire have admitted that they are one of the counties who are interested in signing Glamorgan all-rounder James Harris, who has indicated that he would like to move away from Cardiff next season in order to play Division One cricket. Other counties believed to be interested are Somerset and Warwickshire.
Nottinghamshire will be without Australian middle-order batsman Adam Voges for the potentially decisive final LV= County Championship match against Warwickshire, which begins on 11th September. Voges will return home to prepare for the Australian domestic season. Nottinghamshire are hopeful of being able to find a replacement overseas player, but could be thwarted in their efforts by the World Twenty20.
Leicestershire batsman announced his retirement from all cricket yesterday due to a hip condition. Full story
By reaching the final of the Friends Life t20 yesterday, Yorkshire and Hampshire qualified for the Champions League T20 qualifying tournament, which begins on 9th October. Hampshire have been drawn in Group A alongside Pakistan’s domestic T20 winners, Sialkot Stallions, and New Zealand’s Auckland Aces. Yorkshire are grouped with the dangerous Trinidad & Tobago and the to-be-decided winners of the ongoing Sri Lanka Premier League. Only the group winner will progress to the tournament proper, which begins on 13th October in South Africa.
Worcestershire Cricket Board are running a silent auction of cricketing memorabilia in order to raise funds for grassroots cricket. More information can be found here.
© Cricket World 2012