Chris Adams has named a 14 man squad, shorn of Stuart Meaker and Jade Dernbach - both of whom are on England Lions duty, but boosted by the return to limited overs cricket of Mark Ramprakash.
Allrounder Chris Jordan, who according to rumours is attracting interest from other counties, is also recalled to the squad having played just one 40 over match this season in which he bowled 6 overs for 53 runs and failed to take a wicket.
The squad and possible team is as follows:
Bench: Spriegel, Schofield, Wilson
The opening pair is a real issue for Adams; Hamilton-Brown and Davies are capable of fearsome hitting but the partnership just hasn't worked this season. I think Roy should be promoted up the order, you can't help but feel he's got a big score in him just waiting to come out at the moment and Hamilton-Brown in the middle order means we lose none of the power. Ramprakash in the side instantly gives us a better balance as he can play the anchor role if needs be, and there's plenty of firepower in a lower order of Ansari, Jordan, Batty and Arafat.
On the bowling front, much will rest on the in form shoulders of Tim Linley and I hope Arafat continues his recent and impressive return to form. Batty and Ansari, with backup from de Bruyn and Hamilton-Brown should be able to contain during the middle overs but the role of Chris Jordan, should he play, will be interesting to see. He won't open the bowling but he is a naturally attacking bowler, like Meaker he can't really do the 'containing' role in one day cricket but he is capable of taking wickets if he's in any kind of form. He's been in the wickets in club cricket and the Second XI, but we all know how big a jump it is up to this level. Leaving out Spriegel is a touch harsh but Ansari and Batty have miles in their legs at the moment, Schofield is playing for the Second XI today and tomorrow so I can't see him playing and Adams is unlikely to throw Wilson in at this stage.
Northants are in some shocking form at the moment. Having made a phenomenal start to the season the Twenty20 games came at just the wrong moment and they don't seem to have recovered. Since mid-July they've lost to Hampshire, Leicestershire and Scotland in the CB40 along with draws against Glamorgan and Derbyshire in the Championship. That could just mean they're due a result of course, and with Hall, O'Brien, Sales, Vaas and Brooks in their ranks they're more than capable of getting one tomorrow.
Earlier in the season I'd have said Northants might be favourites for this one, but with their recent form and the return of Ramprakash to the side I think we should be looking at victory, and a big step towards the semi-finals of the CB40.
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