The Roses: Overseas pros key to victory
June 27th sees the second Roses match of the Natwest T20 Blast at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
During the previous meeting at Old Trafford, Aaron Finch (Yorkshire’s Australian T20 specialist) launched a mighty assault against the Lancashire bowling attack, hitting The Point in the process with one of the biggest sixes you’ll ever see.
Finch is the world’s number one T20 player and, with the sheer power he possesses, it’s not hard to see why. He is 2/1 with Coral to be top Yorkshire batsman.
Coming off the back of an impressive 110 against Warwickshire in the County Championship, Finch is obviously in good form. He is averaging 37 in this year’s T20 Blast at a strike rate of 131. For an opening batsman these are great numbers.
At the top of the order, he will have the most time to build an innings and then begin the onslaught we have become accustomed to seeing. With backup from Jonny Bairstow, who averages 132 at a strike rate of 155, and Tim Bresnan, Yorkshire have a wealth of talent with both bat and ball. It’s unsurprising that they are odds-on favourites at 4/5 to do the double over their historical rivals.
Lancashire, however, have recruited one of the shrewdest players in the modern game. Junaid Khan isn’t exactly a household name, but the 24-year-old Pakistan international is quite possibly the best bowler in this year’s competition.
With an exceptional economy rate of 6.50 in all T20 matches and career best figures of 4-12 against Birmingham Bears (Warwickshire) this year, Khan will have a major role to play for Lancashire if they are to avenge their narrow defeat at Old Trafford.
Khan is ably assisted by Kabir Ali, meaning that Lancashire have two of the most economical bowlers putting pressure on teams straight away. With new England spinners Stephen Parry and Simon Kerrigan also in the attack, Lancs have a balanced bowling unit.
In Tom Smith they have an opening batsman at the peak of his career. With an average of 32.75 and strike rate of 146 he is a force to be reckoned with. Lancashire also have flavour of the month Jos Buttler who is still riding on the form gained on England duty. An incredible strike rate of 168 with an average of 41, he is a clear match winner, and is 4/1 to be top batsman for his county.
With such a young athletic side, Lancashire are good money at evens to win at Headingley.