Cricket – Clydesdale Bank 40: Sussex Sharks v Lancashire Lightning

Cricket Tips

Clydesdale Bank 40 – Group A
Sussex Sharks (2nd) v Lancashire Lightning (4th)
Sunday 9th May 2010 – 1345hrs

Sussex Sharks take on Lancashire Lightning in their next Group A match at Hove on Sunday, knowing a win may take them top of the group for a brief period unless Somerset beat Unicorns with a handsome run-rate.

Sussex have started their new county campaign in fine form, heading the Championship Div Two by 27 points over second-placed Derbyshire and in the shorter format of the game, second in the Clydesdale Bank 40 Group A. They will face a sterner test this afternoon though as Championship Div One side Lancashire look to get back to winning ways in the competition after losing to Somerset in their last outing.

Let’s look at the Sharks’ form going into this match; they have two wins from two matches but have arguably had quite an easy start fixtures wise – they took care of Worcestershire in their first match, restricting the home side to just 144-9 off their 40 overs, and in reply, reached the required target five wickets down for 145 in just 23.1 overs which helped their Net Run-rate.
Their second match was against Unicorns (an ECB squad made up of non-contracted players, captained by former Somerset all-rounder Keith Parsons), and the Sharks posted a total of 255-8 off 40 overs but then suffered a bit of a shock as the Unicorns were 207-4 in the 37th over needing just 49 runs to win. Enter medium-pacer James Kirtley who took four wickets in quick succession, along with two wickets from former Pakistan all-rounder Naved-ul-Hasan, and the youngsters folded, all out for 211 off 38.2 overs. Job done.

Sharks batting: Opening batsman Chris Nash (CB40 114/57.00) has a highest score of 81 in the comp this season, and will be assisted by keeper/batsman Matt Prior (CB40 64/32.00), Andy Hodd (CB 40 40/40.00) who has taken over the gloves in the CB40 and all-rounder Robin Martin-Jenkins (CB40 42runs so far) who adds vital runs down the order.

Sharks bowling: They have a good mix of fast, medium-pace and spin options in their armoury – James Kirtley (CB40 8/8.12 – 4.23rpo ) is the leading wicket-taker to date taking 4-30 v Worcs and 4-35 v Unicorns, and the likes of Naved-ul-Hasan (CB40 3/19.66 – 3.93rpo) and opening bowler chad Keegan (CB40 4/19.50 – 5.57rpo) will always exploit the conditions along with Martin-Jenkins. Monty Panesar has only taken 1 wicket so far, but has a good economy rate of 3.33rpo slowing down the run-rate in the middle of an innings, which invariably results in rash shots played at the other end in the pursuit of increasing the run-rate.

Onto visitors Lancashire then; they’ve played three, won one (beating Glamorgan by 7 wickets), and lost two (lost by 2 wickets v Surrey D/L method, and then lost to Somerset by 42 runs).

They have a pretty strong batting line-up as Glamorgan found out when they chased down 272 to win, scoring 275-3 off 37.2 overs with Ashwell Prince (102*) and Steven Croft (84*) sharing an unbeaten partnership of 186 to win the match comfortably.
However, against Somerset, they showed the occasional brittle side to their batting when chasing Somerset’s 235, they collapsed from 173-4 to 193 all out, losing by a 42 run margin when they seemingly had victory in their sights.

Lightning batting: South African test batsman Ashwell Prince is the obvious danger man (CB40 173/86.50) highest score of 102* to date, along with ex-Worcester batsman Stephen Moore (CB40 173/57.66) highest score of 118 so far, and others to watch out for are Steven Croft (CB40 147/73.50) and Paul Horton (CB40 93/31.00).

Lightning bowlers: West Indian paceman Daren Powell (CB40 5/30.60 – 6.95rpo) heads the wicket-taking tally, along with medium pacer Tom Smith (CB40 5/29.40 – 6.12rpo), but fellow paceman Kyle Hogg (CB40 4/34.75 – 6.22rpo) is close behind. Slow left-arm spinner Stephen Parry (CB40 3/46.00 – 5.75rpo) offers some variation, but surely not in the same class as Panesar?

It’s interesting to note that the Lightning bowling attack are quite expensive in terms of run-rate and this could be a factor as Sharks batsmen in particular, Prior and Goodwin, will feast on anything wide or short.

In summary then, I believe that Sussex have more depth and variation in the bowling department and this will be the deciding factor in this match.

Pick: Sussex Sharks @ 1.80 with Betfred