ABOUT THE MATCH
Defending champions Worcestershire Rapids will bid to reach their second consecutive Vitality Blast final when they take on 2017 winners Notts Outlaws in the first semi-final of the 2019 Finals Day at Edgbaston. The match is scheduled for September 21.
Notts Outlaws finished ahead of the Rapids in the North Group, separated by a single point, and then had Alex Hales (83*) and Chris Nash (74*) to thank for a stunning ten-wicket win against Middlesex in the quarter-final.
Worcestershire, meanwhile, finished fourth in the group – having beaten Notts in their one head-to-head meeting. Their lower finishing position did not affect them in the quarter-final, however, as Moeen Ali smashed an unbeaten 120 from 60 balls in an eight-wicket defeat of Sussex Sharks.
Last year’s Finals Day saw semi-final success for the teams batting first and that trend could be continued unless overhead conditions swing things towards bowling.
Worcestershire lost both tosses on last year’s Finals Day, so winning is not the be-all and end-all. They are due this one though.
PITCH AND CONDITION
They have picked a perfect weekend weather-wise for this T20 Blast Finals Day, with zero chance of rain forecast and conditions in Birmingham set to be sunny all day.
Edgbaston is favored for Finals Day not just because of its size (though, of course, that is important), but because its pitch can produce some very even battles between bat and ball.
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF Nottinghamshire
Alex Hales, Chris Nash, Ben Duckett, Jake Libby, Tom Moores (wk), Dan Christian (c), Samit Patel, Luke Fletcher, Luke Wood, Matthew Carter, Harry Gurney
PROBABLE PLAYING XI OF Worcestershire
Hamish Rutherford, Riki Wessels, Moeen Ali (c), Ben Cox (wk), Ross Whiteley, Tom Fell, Ed Barnard, Daryl Mitchell, Joe Leach, Dillon Pennington, Pat Brown
- Alex Hales will be back with Notts Outlaws after his quarter-final heroics at T20 Blast 2019, having blasted straight off from that game to fulfill his Caribbean Premier League commitments.
- Imad Wasim is unavailable, however, due to domestic commitments and Luke Fletcher could replace him.
- Chris Nash is likely to keep his place after excelling as he replaced Joe Clarke for the quarter-final, meanwhile.
- Notts Outlaws finished the group stage with a dismal defeat to Durham, ending a run of three straight wins, as they were bowled out for 124 chasing 172 to win.
- It did not cost them second place, however, and they bounced back to form in style in the semi-final.
- Matthew Carter was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 2-16 from four overs, as they restricted Middlesex to 160/8.
- In reply, Chris Nash (74*) and Alex Hales (83*) blasted Notts to a stunning ten-wicket win.
- After missing the quarter-final win against Sussex, Hamish Rutherford is available again.
- The question then is who will miss out? Charlie Morris came into the team last time out, but it was his only appearance of the season and he appears to be the prime candidate as a result.
- Worcestershire Rapids missed out on a second place in the North Group when they failed to defend 188/5 in their final group game despite Moeen Ali’s batting form has continued with a half-century.
- It did not prove costly, however, Ali smashing 121* from 60 balls as the Rapids’ chased 185 to beat Sussex Sharks by eight wickets in the quarter-final at Hove.
PROBABLE WINNING TEAM:
Worcestershire Rapids won last season and have Moeen Ali in excellent form, but Notts with Alex Hales and Harry Gurney to the fore have the batting and bowling strength to win this one.
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