LANCASHIRE LIGHTNING will be aiming to record their second home win on the bounce in their NatWest T20 blast encounter against the Leicestershire Foxes at Old Trafford tomorrow.

The Red Rose flew high in their last 20-over encounter when they beat county rivals Yorkshire last Friday by 26 runs; their total of 204-7 was also the second highest score in the northern group so far this year.

Despite their superb win, the defending champions haven’t made the best of starts this year, and currently lie seventh in the table.

Meanwhile, the Foxes currently occupy the last knockout qualification place, after beting Durham Jets at Grace Road.

Bowling was key for the midlands county in last Saturday’s game, with medium pacer Ben Raine the pick of the bowlers, posting figures of 3-24; including 13 dot balls.

The strapping Mackam is also a useful batting option in this form of the game.

Coming in at number four, Raine has a batting average of 20.07 at a strike rate of 111.06, and his anchoring innings of 48 off 47 to assist tomorrow’s visitors against Lancashire’s arch rivals Yorkshire has brought him into the conversation of an England nod.

The hosts bowling attack is not to be sniffed at when given the tools to work with either.

Lancs’ bowlers faced a tough ask in both their opening games after the Red Rose failed to pass the ‘par’ of 150; however when given breathing room last Friday, the likes of George Edwards, Stephen Parry and Aaron Lilley took wickets to close the game out.

Despite not taking the most out of the bowling attack in last Friday’s game, it was Lilley that particularly impressed.

The Tameside-born off-spinner claimed England test international Gary Ballance, and in-form Jonny Bairstow for a concession of just 21 runs, quashing both their ambitions of forming a match-winning partnership with Joe Root.

Meanwhile with the bat, all eyes will be on last Friday’s man of the match Karl Brown, as he continues his superb run of form.

The 28-year-old has a batting average of 37.67 so far in this year’s competition, including a half century against Yorkshire, and a much needed 47 in Lancashire’s narrow defeat to Nottinghamshire last Saturday.

Despite that defeat that saw Notts win with just two balls remaning, the Red Rose will be encouraged by Jos Buttler batting at his brilliant best at Trent Bridge.

In truth, the star player and samurai sword of Lancs’ batting order hadn’t played at all badly in their first three games, picking up a useful 23 against Yorkshire.

However, the Somerset-born wicketkeeper hit a superb 56 off just 29 balls. Buttler’s form, along with that of Lancashire’s middle order, means that any score less than 170 in tomorrow’s game will be seen as a major disappointment.

By Oliver Mackenzie

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