Worcestershire Rapids vs Birmingham Bears
Competition: NatWest T20 Blast
Date: 07 July 2017
Kick-off: 18:30 CET
It was a pretty disappointing for both the Bears and the Rapids in last year’s competition, so there is much to try and improve upon with the first goal getting points off each other in the hunt of the quarterfinals.
The Bears will still be counting themselves as unlucky in terms of not making the quarterfinals last year. The North Division was extremely tight with only four points separating the last quarterfinalist and bottom of the division. It saw the Bears end with 13 points, and come sixth, but equal on points with the Lightning who finished above them. They also finished a point above the Rapids, but two spots clear, again showing how close the group was. At the helm for the Bears is England legend Ian Bell who will be hoping to rekindle some of his highly regarded T20 magic as he partners with the likes of another former England great Jonathan Trott. Chris Woakes is in the side, but recovering from injury while Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme are the overseas pros.
The Rapids only finished one point behind the Bears, but were all the way down in eighth in their division, just above the poor Foxes. The Rapids picked up five wins, and two no results, to go with their seven losses with the Bears pipping them by having one less no result, and that is all. There is lots to be made up when the Rapids begin their campaign against the Bears and for them the danger men are Aussies John Hastings, Nathan Lyon and Kiwi leg break bowler Mitchell Santner. The Rapids have a really powerful spin attack, including Moeen Ali, that they will hope is usual on the conditions in the English summer, otherwise they will rely on a host of allrounders.
Worcestershire Rapids vs Birmingham Bears: T20 Blast history
The Bears have been one of the more successful teams in the T20 tournaments in England. They have won the T20 Blast in 2014 and were runners up in 2003. Since 2003, they have only not made the playoffs five times.
The Rapids have never made it beyond the quarterfinals, but since 2003, they have reached the quarters five times.
Worcestershire Rapids vs Birmingham Bears: Prediction
The Rapids have a team full of quality spinners, and a host of all rounders, but very few out and out batsmen. It makes them a bit one dimensional and susceptible to the conditions, so predicting their win depends on the pitch. In the meantime, the Bears have the pedigree and the class of player to fight off even the best spin attack, back them to roll the Rapids over.
Worcestershire Rapids vs Birmingham Bears: Tips
- Moeen Ali to take two wickets and score over 30 runs
- Grant Elliott to strike at 120.00