The Steelbacks host Essex Eagles in their final Royal London One-Day Cup group game of the season tomorrow.
To have a chance of qualifying for the quarter final stages, the Steelbacks must win against Essex, so will need the home crowd cheering them on.
The Steelbacks’ last game saw them travel up to Emirates Old Trafford to take on the struggling Lancashire Lightning. With rain causing the start of the game to be delayed, the game was reduced to 40 overs each.
Lancashire won the toss and elected to bowl first. Richard Levi got the visitors off to a strong start smashing 68 off 43 balls, as the Steelbacks put on 87 in 11 overs for the first wicket. Although the run rate did slow after Levi’s dismissal, the visitors were able to score 200/8 in their 40 overs.
The Steelbacks bowlers and in particular Maurice Chambers started off firing on all cylinders, with Chambers taking three early wickets to leave Lancashire on 25/3 after six overs and well behind their Duckworth Lewis target. The rain returned at the start of the 11th over with Lancashire on 47/3 and 19 runs behind their Duckworth Lewis target. Unfortunately for the hosts the rain did not go away, so the game was abandoned and the Steelbacks came away with the victory.
Last week Essex hosted Hampshire at Chelmsford and looked very impressive. The visitors won the toss and elected to bowl first, a decision the hosts took full advantage of. Three of Essex’s top four batsmen scored a half century, with Kiwi Jesse Ryder top scoring with 87 from 61 balls, as the hosts finished 324 all out.
In reply, Hampshire showed it was a very good pitch, as Adam Wheater (135) hit a brilliant century, as well as putting on a 198 run partnership with James Vince (79). This helped Hampshire put up on a brilliant chase, however they fell an agonising five runs short, as they ended on 319/9.
One to Watch
New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder has been in fine form for Essex this season and is the gem of what is a stacked Essex batting line up. In the Royal London One-Day Cup, Ryder is averaging an incredible 93, having scored 279 runs in his five innings, which includes three half centuries. With the ball experienced all-rounder Graham Napier has been impressive; he is Essex’s top wicket taker with 12, whilst averaging 24.75.
Andrew Hall and James Middlebrook both return to the Royal London One-Day Cup squad for this important game.
Muhammad Azhar Ullah