As we near the conclusion of the Royal London One-Day Cup, Nottinghamshire and Durham will be looking to secure themselves a spot in the Lord’s final on September 20.
Nottinghamshire will travel north later this week to face Durham at the Emirates Durham ICG in the Semi-Final stage.
Both sides had very differing routes to this stage, with Notts topping group B, whilst Durham managed to pick up the final spot in the last eight, finishing fourth also in group B. As suggested by their impressive performances to get them to this stage Notts will be the favourites to reach the final and defend their one day crown, following their victory over Glamorgan in the CB40 at Lords in 2013.
Nevertheless, Durham will not feel intimidated by the stellar Nottinghamshire line up after defeating them in an earlier group stage match at Trent Bridge.
Shahzad hungry for silverware
Nottinghamshire’s outstanding strength in depth has made them a force to be reckoned with over the past few seasons in all formats of the domestic game. The side is made up of a host of current international and ex-international players. In spite of all their promise this season ex-England ODI paceman, Ajmal Shahzad called on the Outlaws to turn a good season into a trophy winning season.
Talking prior to Notts' last eight tie with Derbyshire Shahzad told the Nottingham Post: “We are having a good season but we don't want to look back on it and have no trophies to show for it. We've been put into that category of being bottlers. I don't think that's fair. We always have the sense in the dressing room that we'll get the job done. We've shown plenty of times this season we can do it."
29-year-old Shahzad joined Nottinghamshire at the start of 2013, following a brief loan spell with Lancashire, with the hope of winning trophies and putting himself in the frame for an international call up, adding to his one test match and eleven ODI’s for England.
Shahzad played a key role in their quarter final victory over local rivals Derbyshire, taking three for 33. The Outlaws bowling attack has shared wickets between them well with eight of their nine bowlers picking up at least six or more wickets, all at an average of less than 37, with Luke Fletcher the pick of the bowlers with 11 Wickets.
The Outlaws boast a star-studded lineup
The Outlaws are also able to field a fearsome batting unit, and despite the absence of their highest scoring batsmen in the tournament, Alex Hales, captain James Taylor and opener Michael Lumb will look to lead the line.
Taylor was this season asked to captain the side, taking over from Chris Read who was responsible for guiding Notts to the one day trophy in 2013, and has scored 330 runs, including two centuries and one half century, one of which (146 not out) helped Notts to their comfortable victory over Derbyshire in the last eight. Lumb has also scored over 300 runs, whilst Mullaney, Wessels, Patel and Franklin have all chipped in with valuable contributions.
Durham turn it around following poor start
Whilst on paper Nottinghamshire appear to be unbeatable, Durham have already proved once this season that this is not the case, and will feel confident of repeating such a feat in front of their home support.
Durham’s one day campaign began in disastrous style losing their three opening home games having scored 311 against Somerset and 271 entertaining Kent and another high chase of 288 to Sussex. Despite losing three of their first four games, Durham fought back and claimed the final spot in the last eight with a comfortable victory over Surrey.
Stoneman and Collingwood key to Durham’s chances
Durham fought their way through a tense last eight contest at Headingley, to narrowly overcome Yorkshire by just 31 runs. 27-year-old Durham captain Mark Stoneman led the way with a magnificent 112, yet Durham were only able to set 237, as they were bowled out without facing the full 50 overs.
Durham’s bowling attack were too strong in reply with Chris Rushworth pick of the bowlers picking up 3 for 23. Stoneman himself has been in fantastic form scoring 347 runs, including his century against Yorkshire, and three 50’s in the group stages.
Paul Collingwood, at the sultry age of 38, has been undoubtedly Durham’s star of the campaign so far, proving why he was England’s ODI specialist for over a decade. Collingwood has amassed an impressive 382 runs, including three half centuries and a ton, whilst also picking up 12 wickets with the ball, showing his true all-round world class.
Never under estimate an under-dog
When these two sides meet, it will be on the back of a four day championship game, but no matter what the result many will hold Nottinghamshire as favourites going into the semi final tie on Saturday, September 6.
Whilst Notts will be eager to retain their one day title, Durham will pose a tough test and will certainly relish their under-dog status. I certainly wouldn’t rule out an upset in this tie, especially in front of fanatical home support up at the Durham Emirates ICG.