Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Jayasuriya & Worcester Royals facing do-or-die time

WORCESTERSHIRE Royals head to Leicestershire Foxes this evening (5.40 pm) requiring snookers if they are to stand a chance of qualification for the quarter-finals of the Friends Provident t20.

While the New Road side can overhaul everyone in the North Group except leaders Nottinghamshire Outlaws, most teams have four matches remaining, meaning a 100 per cent record in the five remaining games for Steve Rhodes’ outfit might not be enough.

The Royals are looking to bounce back from their crushing 46-run defeat at Lancashire Lightning on Monday night.

Worcestershire’s failure to come to grips with the 20-over game has not been made any easier due to injuries to some of Rhodes’ key performers.

Skipper Vikram Solanki has been missing since the third match of the competition with a pelvis problem and is unlikely to be fit until late next week when the Royals could be just playing for pride.

Seamer Chris Whelan, a bowler Rhodes says would be first on his teamsheet, has not featured at all due to a number of injuries.

Alan Richardson has only been able to play twice due to an on-going elbow complaint, while fellow paceman Matt Mason pulled up injured two balls into his second over at Old Trafford with a groin strain. He is facing at least a fortnight in the treatment room.

“It has been hard — but you have to get on with it,” Rhodes said. “We have given some good opportunities to some young guys to try and gain experience.”

But injuries have only been one of the problems with the County’s t20 campaign.

Dropped catches, miss-fields, loose bowling and batsmen crumbling under pressure have been the story of another disappointing 20-over campaign. The positives have been few and far between.

Worcestershire will welcome back seamer Richard Jones for the trip to Grace Road after the quick bowler missed the visit to Lancashire through illness.

But the 23-year-old has gone at 10.5-an-over in the five matches he has played, picking up just two wickets.

However, the other seam options, Imran Arif and Chris Russell, are either more expensive or yet to be tested.

Worcestershire Royals: (from): Jaques, Jayasuriya, Moeen, Kervezee, Mitchell (capt), Manuel, Cameron, Cox (wkt), Andrew, Jones, Shantry, Choudhry.


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