Friday, 3 July 2015

Unbeaten Kent, Middx & Sussex clash in Week 2 of County T20 action

This Sunday the women are back in Nat West County T20 action around the country. Here are the details of who is doing what, where and some interesting clashes to look out for. This is the final weekend this season before the England squad will be withdrawn from games to concentrate on the Ashes, so teams should be at their strongest, subject to injuries. First games start at 10.30am.

Division One
At Arundel Castle - Kent, Middlesex and Sussex
At Welbeck CC - Berkshire, Notts and Yorkshire
At Bath CC - Ireland, Somerset and Surrey

Kent, Middlesex and Sussex
It just so happens that the three teams that won both their fixtures on the opening day of the Nat West T20 competition all meet at the picturesque Arundel Castle ground this Sunday. Kent beat Berkshire and Ireland; Middlesex beat Notts and Somerset; and Sussex beat Surrey and Yorkshire. If one team could win both their games this weekend then they would being sitting pretty at the top of the league having played half their games.
Sussex have the most powerful and diverse bowling attack and they will rely on them to keep their opponents' scores in check. They will have their work cut out against Middlesex's opening pair of Sophia Dunkley and Tash Miles, and Kent's experienced top order of Edwards, Beaumont, Greenway and Marsh. Early wickets will be the key for Sussex.
It will be interesting to compare the left-arm spin of Sussex's former England star Holly Colvin and Middlesex's Alex Hartley, who is flirting with selection for the Ashes squad. Both are happy to give the ball some air and entice batsmen into false shots. Both could prove to be very effective again.
Kent have their own young spinner in Megan Belt, plus former Sussex player Laura Marsh, and Charlotte Edwards is once again twirling her arm over for her county.
The standard of cricket is going to be very high and one or two stand-out performances will win the individual games. Too close to call.

Berkshire, Notts and Yorkshire
Each of these teams picked up one win in the first week of the competition. Berkshire beat Ireland by eight wickets; Notts beat Somerset by seven wickets and Yorkshire beat Surrey by 10 wickets.
For Notts Danni Wyatt was in scintillating form with the bat. She scored 102 against Somerset and 89 (54b) in a losing cause against Middlesex. She is obviously a key wicket for Notts' opponents.
As are the Yorkshire opening pair of Lauren Winfield and Aussie Beth Mooney. Both looked in great touch as they clocked up an unbeaten opening partnership of 125 to waltz past Surrey's 122/7. In addition Yorkshire have the free-swinging Katherine Brunt and Alex Macdonald in their middle order. Berkshire have England VC Heather Knight at the top of their order, followed by the hard-hitting Lissy MacLeod. Get past those and you just have Australia's Alex Blackwell to contend with (playing her last game for Berkshire before joining her touring Aussie teammates).
Notts won the trophy last year and they have a good T20 pedigree, so I tip them to beat Berkshire, but I think they may find Yorkshire too strong for them. If Yorkshire can also overcome Berks it could be a good weekend for them.

Ireland, Somerset and Surrey
None of these teams managed a win in the first round of fixtures, so they will all be anxious to get off the mark. Opening bat for Somerset, South African Lizelle Lee, can take the game away from any team if she gets going, and the home team will be hoping she does. Somerset and England opening bowler Anya Shrubsole has also looked good with the bat recently, so she too will be a key player, playing at her home club.
Surrey have had a bit of a torrid time of late, both in the county championship and T20 competition, but they had to manage the first T20 week without leg-spinner Sarah Clarke and Kiwi Rachel Candy was injured in game one. If both are back they could get their T20 campaign back on track.
Ireland struggled to get runs on the board against Kent and Berks in their first round games. Div 1 is a step up for them and Somerset and Surrey will do them no favours this weekend. They need someone in their top five to bat through their innings to set up a decent score. They may struggle.

Division Two 
At Fordhouses CC - Cheshire, Essex and Staffs
At Durham City CC - Durham, Derbyshire and the Netherlands
At Leamington CC - Lancashire, Wales and Warwickshire

Lancashire, Wales and Warwickshire
Lancs and Warwickshire made the perfect start to their T20 campaign with two wins out of two. Lancs overcame Essex (in a 10 over slog) and Derbyshire (with some ease). Warwickshire brushed aside the Netherlands and Staffs, bowling them out for 59 and 64 respectively. Warwickshire are probably the team to beat out of these three and Wales may find it hard to overcome a young and enthusiastic Lancashire team.

Cheshire, Essex and Staffs
Cheshire had a great opening weekend with two wins over Durham (4 runs) and Wales (48 runs). Essex and Staffs may be tougher this week. Essex beat Derbyshire to clock up their first win in any competition this season, but Staffs drew a blank with clattering defeats to both Warwickshire and the Netherlands. They will hope to bounce back this weekend and record their first T20 points of the season.

Durham, Derbyshire and the Netherlands
Promoted Derbyshire struggled in their first games in Div 2 four weeks ago and they may do so again this weekend. Durham beat Wales by four runs, but then lost by the same margin to Cheshire. They should be too strong for both Derbyshire and the Netherlands, who have one win under their belt over Staffs.


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