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Lancs aiming for top spot

Lancashire Lightning go in to Sunday's Friends Life t20 game at Emirates Old Trafford knowing a win against Durham Dynamos can take them to the top of the North Division table.

Current leaders Notts Outlaws have no fixture on Sunday, and Lancashire have a 15-man squad on duty while Durham pick from 13.

Lancashire Lightning squad: Glen Chapple (capt), Kabir Ali, Karl Brown, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wkt), Kyle Hogg, Simon Katich, Simon Kerrigan, Arron Lilley, Mitchell McClenaghan, Ashwell Prince, Luke Procter, Stephen Moore, Tom Smith.

Durham Dynamos squad: Mark Stoneman (capt), Phil Mustard (wkt), Scott Borthwick, Will Smith, Ben Stokes, Gordon Muchall, Michael Richardson, Gareth Breese, Ryan Pringle, Mark Wood, Chris Rushworth, Callum Thorp, Keaton Jennings.

After a frustrating start to his career at Emirates Old Trafford due to injury, fast bowler Kabir Ali is loving life in a Lancashire shirt.

The former England, Worcestershire and Hampshire quick suffered a knee injury whilst bowling at the Bangladesh Premier League in February, which ruled him out of action with the Red Rose county until June 2.

But the 32-year-old has certainly impressed with the white ball in his hand since his return to the field, taking seven wickets in four Yorkshire Bank 40 matches and six in six Friends Life t20 outings.

His most significant contributions with the ball have been 3-30 in a 40-over win against Essex Eagles at Chelmsford and 3-26 in last week’s Twenty20 win against Leicestershire Foxes at Emirates Old Trafford. He also added a late 59 off 29 on his Red Rose debut against Durham Dynamos in a YB40 match.

Ali’s most recent contribution saw him return 0-31 from four overs against Derbyshire Falcons in Friday's crucial Twenty20 win, which gave the Lightning a huge boost heading into tomorrow’s home clash with Durham. After a loose first over, he came back superbly at the death.

“I’ve got a smile on my face, which says it all,” said the one-time England Test player, who also played 14 times in the one-day international arena. “I’m quite lucky that I’m playing. Two months ago I was watching guys play, and now I’m playing myself. It’s been good so far. The hard work is paying off nicely.

“Any injury is quite frustrating, but because it is the same knee I’ve tweaked before, it was hard. Mentally you’ve got to be strong, but the guys got me through it nicely. I’ve got a lovely family and great friends, and they kept me going.

“When I returned from the injury, the knee was on my mind. But now I’ve got past all those hurdles, and things are going in the right direction.”

Lancashire opened their North Division campaign with an impressive win over Durham at Emirates Durham last month, in which Stephen Moore scored 75 off 58 balls to post 165-3. Durham responded with 156-8.

Moore was also central to the Lightning’s win over Derbyshire last night with 74 off 42, including five fours and as many sixes.

The Dynamos head into the match in confident mood having hammered Yorkshire Vikings by 76 runs on Friday. They posted a mammoth score of 215-6, but they are still languishing at the wrong end of the table having only beaten the Vikings twice in five matches.

Graham Hardcastle
Picture (c) Simon Pendrigh

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