Vitality Blast Quarter-Final Preview
Leicestershire Foxes head into their first Vitality Blast quarter-final fixture for the first time in three years as they make the trip to Trent Bridge to take on Notts Outlaws.
Both teams won their respective home fixtures during the Vitality Blast North group stages with the Foxes claiming victory over a star-studded Outlaws side that had already qualified for the knockout stages and had top spot and a home quarter-final tie in their sights.
The Outlaws won their home tie by five wickets with five overs remaining, however, the Foxes have tasted victory in the Blast at Trent Bridge in recent times as Arron Lilley fired the Foxes to a famous, 11-over apiece win in 2019.
The contest is the only quarter-final to be shown live on Sky Sports, therefore, there will be no live stream for the fixture.
For our T20 Blast quarter-final against Notts Outlaws, our featured head-to-head involves two overseas all-rounders, Gareth Delany (Foxes) versus Dan Christian (Outlaws).
For the Foxes, 23-year-old Delany is in his first ever overseas player role but has taken to the T20 Blast immediately with some strong performances.
With the bat, he has scored 193 runs at a strike rate of 144.02, hitting 29 boundaries at a very high-level boundary percentage of 21.64%.
Delany has also taken six valuable wickets with his leg-spin, at an average of 23.33 and a strike-rate of just 16 balls per wicket.
The veteran Notts all-rounder, Dan Christian, has 14 years more experience than Delany, and has played around the world, including in 35 white-ball internationals for Australia and several stints in the Indian Premier League.
However, Delany has outperformed Christian this year - Christian has hit 117 runs at a strike-rate of 140.96, with an almost identical boundary percentage of 21.69%.
With the ball, Christian's fast-medium pace bowling has taken three wickets this season at a cost of 70.33 runs per wicket, meaning Delany's performances with the ball give him the edge so far this season.
Both players will be critical to their teams for this vital clash.
Last Time We Met in Vitality Blast
The Foxes and Notts Outlaws last met in the Vitality Blast just under two weeks ago at the Fischer County Ground with the Foxes running out victors in a must-win game if they were going to progress to the quarter final.
The visitors posted 162 for seven in an innings that saw Callum Parkinson claim his 50th T20 wicket in Leicestershire colours. The left-arm spinner also claimed the wicket of Alex Hales (11, 13b) with a stunning jaffa that beat the Notts man’s bat and clipped the top of off-stump.
The Foxes started slowly in their reply and lost quick wickets of Welch (6, 7b) and Delany (12, 8b) after 2.6 overs leaving them on 26 for two with Lilley and Ackermann at the crease.
The duo had to dig in and grind a partnership out to give the home side any chance of winning the match.
Lilley (34, 23b) and Ackermann (67no, 53b) posted a third wicket partnership of 75 which left Leicestershire needing 63 runs from the final 9.2 overs.
The wickets of Dearden (0, 3b), Rhodes (1, 5b) and Hill (11, 12b) fell quickly with Ackermann now partnered in the middle by Parkinson (13no, 8b) with Leicestershire needing 24 from the final three overs.
The latter opened the 19th over at the crease and began well by claiming his first boundary of the game after driving Outlaws skipper Dan Christian for four.
The Foxes man then ended the over with another four after clipping Christian over cover for four more to claim 12 from it, leaving the Foxes requiring six from the final over.
Ackermann and Parkinson then ran up the remaining runs in the final over as the Foxes claimed a four-wicket victory with one ball remaining.
The Foxes claimed their first of two wins needed to be in with a chance of qualifying for the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.
Head Coach Paul Nixon names an unchanged 14-man squad for the Foxes' quarter-final clash against Notts Outlaws.
Leicestershire from 14: Colin Ackermann (c), Nat Bowley, Will Davis, Harry Dearden, Gareth Delany, Gavin Griffiths, Lewis Hill (wk), Dieter Klein, Arron Lilley, Ben Mike, Callum Parkinson, George Rhodes, Harry Swindells, Nick Welch.