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Lightning coming to town

Leicestershire Foxes are on a roll in the NatWest T20 Blast and need it to continue against North group leaders Lancashire Lightning this evening (5.30pm start).

The Foxes went close to striking down the Lightning in the game at Emirates Old Trafford last month when debutant Richard Jones took a career-best 5-34.

However, the Lightning held their nerve and are unbeaten in five games including the 9-run win against the Foxes, albeit with two washouts included in that record.

The Foxes picked up three points against Northants Steelbacks and Derbyshire Falcons last weekend and that would surely have been four had rain not stopped the Steelbacks game at the halfway stage.

Leicestershire are four points behind fourth-placed Yorkshire with four games to go, so they will need to get as many of the eight remaining points as possible if they are to make the quarter-finals.

Lightning racked up 229 at previous group leaders Worcestershire Rapids last Sunday in a game that included a successful comeback for England legend Andrew Flintoff.

Flintoff is again in the squad for tonight’s match, so make sure you come to Grace Road for a chance to see one of the game’s great all-rounders.

The 13-man Foxes squad unsurprisingly contains the eleven players who were so impressive against the Steelbacks and the Falcons, with Dan Redfern and Shiv Thakor also included to give further options.

Master blasters Tom Wells and Scott Styris currently have the best strike rates in the Foxes squad, while Greg Smith (380) and Josh Cobb (286) have shone at the top of the order.

Anthony Ireland (16 wickets) took his first five-wicket haul in NatWest T20 Blast competition at the Falcons, and Ben Raine (12 wickets) picked up successive career-bests in recent games against Yorkshire Vikings and the Steelbacks. Jigar Naik, Cobb and Styris have maintained an impressive economy rate while also picking up important wickets.

Former Leicestershire loanee Tom Smith has been in terrific form for the Lightning, and there is another Foxes connection in the Lancashire squad as former all-rounder Wayne White is in the travelling 13.

England wicket-keeper Jos Buttler provides the fireworks for a strong all-round Lightning side who, given Yorkshire play Durham tonight, will secure a quarter-final place if they win one of their remaining three games.

Foxes (from): Cobb, O’Brien, Smith, Eckersley, Boyce, Styris, Wells, Redfern, Thakor, Raine, Naik, Ireland, Shreck.

Lightning (from): Horton, Brown, Buttler, Clark, Croft, Flintoff, Junaid Khan, Kabir Ali, Lilley, Parry, Prince, Smith, White.


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