Cricket Betting Tips and Fantasy Cricket Match Predictions: Vitality Blast 2020 - Durham Cricket vs Lancashire Lightning
The opening round match of the Vitality Blast 2020 will be played between Durham Cricket and Lancashire Lightning at Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street.
Durham Cricket finished at the 6th spot in their Vitality Blast group last year. The team ended the group stage with 5 wins and 7 losses from 14 matches.
They will be up against Lancashire Lightning who finished at the top in their group after the league stage with 8 wins and 2 losses from 14 matches. They lost their quarter-final match against Essex.
Among the available players, Scott Steel was the top scorer for Durham Cricket in the last Blast season with 369 runs from 11 matches at an average of 33 and a strike rate of 136. He scored two half-centuries last year with the best of 70.
Matty Potts picked up 17 wickets for Durham Cricket from 12 matches with best figures of 3/22. He bowled at an average of 19 and an economy of 8.33.
Alex Davies was the highest run-scorer for Lancashire Lightning last year with 307 runs from 12 matches at an average of 38 and a strike rate of 127. He scored two half-centuries with the best of 80*.
Matthew Parkinson was their top wicket-taker and picked up 21 wickets from 12 matches with best figures of 4/30. He bowled at an average of 14 and an economy of 7.48.
Durham opener Scott Steel has admitted that he faces a challenge to build on his impressive debut campaign in the Vitality Blast, especially in the absence of former opening partner D’Arcy Short.
The 21-year-old was outstanding at the top of the innings alongside Australian, with the duo sharing stands of over fifty six times in 11 matches. Steel held his own next to the experienced left-hander, scoring 369 runs with a top score of 70. He watched a dominant Short from the non-strikers’ end, with the Aussie finishing as the PCA’s MVP for the competition due to his exploits with bat and ball.
Short departed the club at the end of the Vitality Blast and signed for Surrey for the new campaign before the pandemic disrupted the cricket schedule. Steel was already preparing for the task of replacing the Aussie’s impact at the top of the order, and is aware that his breakout season will have alerted the opposition to his strengths and weaknesses.
He said: “There’s a little bit more pressure on me, but whoever I open the innings with might also get off to a flier so I might not have to! I think it will be fun no matter what.
“This year is going to be a lot harder to back up that first season. The games are recorded and all the teams have access to that information. They will be analysing where I like to hit the ball and they’ll be out to target my weaknesses. I’ve been working hard in the off-season against spin bowling and trying to rotate the strike more to try to make those strengths of mine.”
Steel has revealed that he learned a great deal from Short his debut campaign in the Durham ranks about his composure at the crease at the top of the innings.
However, even the brilliance of the two openers could not secure a quarter-final berth for James Franklin's men, who fell narrowly short in the North Group due to costly defeats to Yorkshire and Worcestershire on home soil.
The Durham youngster is looking to take both those positive and negative experiences into the new campaign where there will be greater onus on the performances of young English players due to the absence of stars from overseas in the competition.
“At first you think T20 cricket is all about fours and sixes,” he added. “But D’Arcy was very calm during the powerplay - he played himself in. After that he backed himself to clear the fielders once he was in. So it showed me that you can build an innings and then back yourself to play your shots when you’re in.
“You have to understand that matches can change in a split-second. Momentum can change so quickly and we had a a couple of those matches last season at home when we ended up on the losing side. At the same time you’re never really out of the game and you’re never quite in control until the result is decided.
"It's a good thing young English players will get the experience because of overseas players not being involved There will be a spotlight on a few of the lads, but they will have to step up."
Let's have a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
Durham - Alex Lees, Scott Steel, Harry Adair, Graham Clark, Ben Raine, James Weighell, Stuart Poynter, Gareth Harte, Liam Trevaskis, Matty Potts, Nathan Rimmington (c)
Lancashire - Alex Davies, Liam Livingstone, Steven Croft, Keaton Jennings, Glenn Maxwell, Dane Vilas (c & wk), Rob Jones, Josh Bohannon, Saqib Mahmood, Richard Gleeson, Matthew Parkinson
Cricket Betting Tips and Match Predictions* - PrePlay
Who will win the toss? - Lancashire
Who will win? – Lancashire
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) – Alex Davies (Lancashire), Scott Steel (Durham)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Matty Potts (Durham)
Most Sixes – Alex Davies (Lancashire), Scott Steel (Durham)
Man of the Match – Alex Davies
Team Scores Batting first – Lancashire 180+, Durham 160+
Match Handicap Lancashire
Live Cricket Streaming Vitality Blast 2020 - bet365's live cricket streaming page which enables you to watch live cricket. (BeGambleAware 18+) Live Cricket Streaming from bet365 requires a funded account or for customers to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours. Geo-restrictions apply.
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features, so stay tuned.
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