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20 Jul 2018 by Rob Esteva

Vitality t20 Blast 2018 – Birmingham Bears vs Northamptonshire Steelbacks Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Friday 20thJuly, 19:00 (UK)

Where? Edgbaston

Weather? 17-18c with cloud and a small chance of rain during the match

What channel is it on? Birmingham Bears vs Northamptonshire Steelbacks will not be televised live in the UK

Where can I stream the match? N/A

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

HEAD-TO-HEAD
All-time meetings: Birmingham Bears W17 Northamptonshire Steelbacks W12

THE TEAM NEWS

BIRMINGHAM BEARS

Coach: Jim Troughton

Captain: Grant Elliott

  • The Bears have lost their last two matches in the t20 Blast as they sit on four points from their opening five matches, and those two defeats largely came as their bowling unit conceded 229/5 against Leicestershire and 220/6 against Durham.

  • The Bears' second XI played two friendlies on Thursday to get some more practice out in the middle and they were buoyed by the return from injury of Aaron Thomason who hit a hundred and fast bowler Olly Stone putting both in contention here.

  • Their bowling attack has struggled to cope with the injuries to those two in particular and if both can return here it would produce a major boost as they face the winless Steelbacks.

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE STEELBACKS

Coach: David Ripley

Captain: Alex Wakely

  • The Steelbacks lost the battle of the two winless teams in the North Group on Thursday night as Derbyshire comfortably dispatched them to make it five defeats from five as their confidence continues to be sapped.

  • They conceded 200 runs for the third time in five matches and their record in the other two matches was hardly great conceding 130/3 in a reduced 9-over match and being restricted to 123/9 when batting first against Lancs so there is plenty of room for improvement for what is the worst bowling attack in the competition.

  • That may well see them decide to bat first if they do manage to win the toss and then hope that they can set a decent total for the Bears and somehow try and compete better than they have so far.

THE PREDICTION

The Steelbacks are struggling badly right now as they are without a win in five matches and are showing no signs of improvement. They were never in the match on Thursday against fellow strugglers Derbyshire and that does not bode well when coming up against a talented Bears team that need a win themselves. There will be no chance of complacency in the Bears’ ranks, and their batting line-up should either hit an unsurmountable target, or comfortably chase one down too.

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