English County Championship: Lancashire v Kent

Cricket Tips


English County Championship
Lancashire (3rd) v Kent (6th)
Tue 27th April – Fri 30th April: 1100hrs
HS 10 = Highest score in 2010
It’s time to turn my attention to the English cricket season as the football season nears it’s close, with the first game I’m covering seeing  hosts Lancashire entertaining visitors Kent at their Old Trafford ground.
Lancashire, recently tagged the perennial under-achievers, have made an impressive start to the new county season winning two out of two in the Championship; comprehensively beating Warwickshire by 121 runs at home, whilst making short work of Essex at Chelmsford within three days, largely thanks to England paceman James Anderson who took 6 wickets in Essex’s first innings to set up the victory.
However, I will point out that Anderson took only two wickets in their opening match against The Bears, with slow left arm Simon Kerrigan bagging seven wickets in the match (1st Inns 2-44, 2nd Inns 5-43). The positive note though was that Lancashire’s bowlers shared the wickets in that instance and didn’t rely upon Anderson’s contribution – something they will need to do again in this fixture as Anderson heads to the Caribbean for the Twenty20 World Cup. I’m confident that this will happen though on the back of Chapple & Kerrigan (8 wickets apiece so far) and Sajid Mahmood (7 wickets).
In the batting department, it’s early days but no.3 Paul Horton has hit his straps already, scoring his side’s first century of the season (123), while their overseas player, Ashwell Prince scored 82 (again, against Warwickshire). Middle order pair Mark Chilton & Steven Croft (HS 10: 64), along with former Worcestershire opener Stephen Moore (HS 10: 61) should also score heavily as the season progresses. As a team, they pretty much bat all the way down the order, as both skipper Glenn Chapple and no.10 Sajid Mahmood have both recorded half-centuries already this season.
Onto the visitors Kent then, and in their first match they were on the receiving end of an absolute thumping at Trent Bridge, losing by an innings and 32 runs within three days, and made the trip back to Canterbury with their tails well and truly between their legs.
However, the Spitfires raised their performance in their last match against Yorkshire, earning a draw after Yorkshire’s batsmen shut up shop despite giving chasing over 380 runs on the final day a real go. The dangermen for Kent in the batting department are opener and captain Rob Key although he’s made a dreadful start to the season scoring 4, 15, 5 & 9. South African vice-captain Martin van Jaarsveld will always score runs although he too has struggled so far with scores of 7, 1 & 20 before scoring 78 in the second innings against Yorkshire. James Tredwell will be joining the England team for the Twenty20 World Cup, while they have recruited South African seam bowler Makhaya Ntini for a month.
While Ntini’s credentials are unquestionable, I do wonder how motivated he’ll be given that he’ll be replaced later in the season by Sri Lankan leg-spinner Malinga Bandara?
In comparison to Lancashire, Kent’s depth in batting is also questionable with keeper Geraint Jones batting no.3/no.4, while he batted at no.7 when playing for England. Both Darren Stevens and Azhar Mahmood are useful all-rounders, but at 33 and 35 years of age, they’re on the wrong side of thirty when it comes to bowling long spells and backing up for four days.
In short, I think Kent will struggle to stay the pace with Lancashire at their home ground and I can only see the weather providing the greatest opposition to a Lancashire win, given that there is slight rain forecast during the four days.
Pick: Lancashire win @ 2.60 or if you’re worried about the rain, take them at the DRAW NO BET  option @ 1.61 – both prices with Betfair.