Cricket

Worcestershire hope to maintain table-topping T20 Blast form

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Saeed Ajmal is key to Worcestershire's hopes this season (©GettyImages)
Saeed Ajmal is key to Worcestershire's hopes this season (©GettyImages).

Week six of the T20 Blast promises to be just as exciting as week five with some
mouth-watering clashes in both the North and South Groups. Of the eight games played last Friday night six were very close affairs with the game between Glamorgan and Kent ending in a tie and Somerset overcoming Hampshire by just one run at Taunton. Both groups are extremely tight at the moment so any run of victories could catapult a side to Finals Day and ultimate glory in August.

North Group preview

Fresh from their impressive victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last Friday night the Birmingham Bears now face the daunting task of taking on high-flying Worcestershire at New Road on Friday. Worcestershire held their nerve in their last outing against Derbyshire to win by eight runs and are developing a winning formula in this form of cricket which they are hoping will see them through to Finals Day at Edgbaston in August. This week the Bears also face Northants on Thursday night . A successful week could catapult the Edgbaston side into
the top two positions in the North Group.

Nottinghamshire Outlaws face two back to back derby clashes this week. First up, on Thursday, the Outlaws visit Grace Road to play a struggling Leicester Foxes and then they
return to home soil to take on the Derbyshire Falcons. The Outlaws will be viewing these fixtures as very winnable. Despite currently propping up the North Group, with no victories so far, Derbyshire will be buoyed by their performance in their narrow defeat to Worcestershire last time out. They take on a Nottinghamshire side who are certainly performing below expectations in this form of the game this season and, with only two victories from their five
matches so far, they will be looking to get back to winning ways very soon if they are to have any hopes of challenging the top two in the North group.

On Friday joint group leaders Lancashire Lightning face a Northamptonshire Steelbacks side who are struggling in all forms of the game this season so far. With two victories from their first five games the Steelbacks wont have it easy against a Lancashire side who will have form players Tom Smith and Junaid Khan in their ranks. Lancashire will be hoping for victory which may lead to them being outright leaders of the North Group, depending on how Worcestershire perform in their game. More importantly though it could create a gap between
the two top and the chasing pack, led by the Yorkshire Vikings and the Birmingham Bears. The Vikings are not in action this week. Northants though have the big-hitting David Willey in their ranks who will be a danger to Lancashire if they don’t dismiss him early. Northants also play on Thursday evening against Birmingham and by Friday night they will be clear on whether they are going to be close to making a successful defence of the trophy they so
dramatically won last season.

Leicestershire Foxes visit the Durham Jets on Friday with both sides needing a victory in
order to climb the table from their lowly positions. The Foxes were narrowly defeated by Lancashire in week five whilst Durham will be refreshed after enjoying a rest last Friday. Leicestershire could go into this match on a high if they are able to defeat close rivals Nottinghamshire on Thursday evening. Durham have been inconsistent so far this season and will be keen to arrest a run of two straight defeats in the competition.   

This week's North Group T20 Blast fixtures;

Thursday 19 June

Birmingham Bears v  Northants Steelbacks Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leicestershire Foxes v  Nottinghamshire Outlaws Grace Road, Leicester

Friday 20 June

Durham Jets v  Leicestershire Foxes - Emirates Durham ICG, Chester-le-Street

Worcestershire Rapids v  Birmingham Bears - New Road, Worcester

Nottinghamshire Outlaws v  Derbyshire Falcons - Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Lancashire Lightning v  Northants Steelbacks - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

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Topics:
T20
Cricket
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