Lancashire Lightning are set for their 50th Friends Life t20 match at Emirates Old Trafford tonight - and they go in search of their 34th home win when they play Notts Outlaws.
The Lightning, who got off to a winning start at Durham Dynamos on Friday night, have made their home ground a fortress since the start of the competition in 2003, only losing 11 times. There have been five no results. Their T20 home record against the Outlaws is an outstanding 6-0.
Squad for tonight's game: Glen Chapple (captain), Kabir Ali, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Gareth Cross (wicketkeeper), Steven Croft, Kyle Hogg, Simon Katich, Simon Kerrigan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Stephen Moore, Stephen Parry, Ashwell Prince, Tom Smith.
If Glen Chapple’s side can enhance that record tonight against one of the competition favourites, who also won their opener, they would be in a strong position even at this early stage of the North Division campaign.
Not only has left-arm spinner Stephen Parry played his part in the Red Rose success at EOT down the years, he was also instrumental in the win at Durham, picking up the crucial scalp of Dynamos skipper Paul Collingwood in their pursuit of 166.
And Parry has revealed why he believes his the county have been so successful at home down the years.
“The reason why we're so good at home is that we run well between the wickets and pinch twos. Sometimes sides bat first, knock it into the outfield and only run one, while we're trying to nail twos. That's a good option for us because we've got a young side,” he said.
“It is a low par score (145), but that's because guys like Keeds, Chappie, me, Maharoof and Junaid have good records. We've had some serious Twenty20 bowlers, and I'm sure I'll have missed some out.
“It's big boundaries, but they're not always spinning wickets here. You have to vary your pace whether it spins or doesn't. My skills are getting better each year, and hopefully I can keep developing them.”
Parry has taken 60 wickets from 52 twenty-over matches in his career, striking every 19.1 balls and only conceding 6.77 runs per over.
It was no surprise to hear team-mate Karl Brown say of the 27-year-old: “Stephen Parry on the bowling side, I don't think there's been a more consistent bowler than him throughout county cricket in this form of the game.”
“Obviously the opportunities I've had have been in one-day cricket more than four-day cricket. My form's been good nearly every year, and I've managed to keep reproducing it. Hopefully I can have another successful campaign,” he said.
“I think the thing is you always know that batters will come at you and want to try and hit you. The way I try to get it in my head is to not concede a boundary. If they do play a good shot, they're allowed to in the same way way that you're allowed to bowl a good ball. If you do get on a run, you can keep your momentum going personally.
“The key for me is to not give any width so they can't free their arms and make them play a shot they don't want to play. If they pull it off, good on them. If not, you're in the game. If you keep being consistent with your game plan, you'll have more better days.”
Before Friday night, new overseas recruit Mitchell McClenaghan had never been to Manchester, so this will obviously be his first appearance at Emirates Old Trafford.
“I can't wait. I've seen some photos of the new ground, and there's a lot of history. I've grown up watching the Ashes and stuff like that. There have been some fantastic contests and games, and I'm looking forward to stepping out onto the ground and being a part of that,” said the New Zealand fast bowler, who is targeting a fast start to the competition.
“If we get off to a two or three game winning streak, it will be hard to stop us.”
Notts won their opener against Leicestershire Foxes at Trent Bridge on Friday, chasing down 184 with 2.2 overs remaining.
And Parry knows the Red Rose will have to be on top of their game to claim the two points.
“They're a strong side who've recruited well to go alongside players like Taylor, Hales, Lumb, Samit Patel. They've got a really good side,” he added. “But over the years we've had the edge on them, certainly at home. It this is my fifth or sixth year of Twenty20, and I remember winning a few times against them.”
Photo - Mitch McClenaghan in action at Durham last Friday (c) Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport