Vitality t20 Blast 2018 – Yorkshire Vikings vs Birmingham Bears Preview

AT A GLANCE

When? Friday 27thJuly, 18:30 (UK)

Where? Emerald Headingley

Weather? 23-24c with a 40% chance of rain during the match

What channel is it on? Sky Sports Cricket

Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go

Are tickets still available? https://www.ecb.co.uk/tickets/domestic

THE TEAM NEWS

YORKSHIRE VIKINGS

Coach: Andrew Gale

Captain: Gary Ballance

  • The Vikings come off a one-run defeat at the hands of Roses rivals Lancashire last Friday so they will be wounded and motivated to bounce back immediately and get a win over the Bears at Headingley.

  • Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are both absent once again as they have reported with England but Harry Brook and Tom Kohler-Cadmore both come back into the squad and the talented duo could both play.

  • Despite being called up by England for the Test match next week, Adil Rashid is expected to be allowed to play here while they can also count on David Willey and Liam Plunkett – the latter despite the news he will leave the club at the end of the season.

BIRMINGHAM BEARS

Coach: Jim Troughton

Captain: Grant Elliott

  • The Bears have managed to win just two of their opening six matches but are just a point behind Yorkshire and the top four places in what is a congested North Group coming into this key match.

  • Their bowling attack has been particularly vulnerable in recent matches as they have conceded 229/5 against Leicestershire, 220/6 versus Durham, and 231/5 to Northants last time out so that is one area of weakness they need to rectify quickly.

  • Their batting line-up remains strong with veteran Ian Bell having scored 287 runs in six innings so far, but the form of their top order has restricted skipper Grant Elliott’s opportunities and he has to improve on the 11 runs scored in his four innings so far.

THE PREDICTION

Virtually every game is vital right now as we enter a crucial stage in the tournament and these two teams are direct rivals for a knockout place. Both teams will be haunted by their recent defeats but Yorkshire will take solace from their loss to Lancashire after a heroic performance. The Bears have looked extremely poor with the ball and having already dominated this Vikings teams in an eight-wicket win a couple of weeks ago, the Vikings are much stronger in terms of personnel now. With home advantage and form on their side, expect them to get back to winning ways, especially if Rashid does play.