With three games left in this season’s LV County Championship, this could be a title decider as leaders Warwickshire host third place Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston tomorrow (11am, Tuesday August 28). While Sussex have produced an impressive run of results to take second place, Ed Joyce’s men have played a game more than their rivals and there is unlikely to be enough points left in two matches to take the title.
A win for Warwickshire would certainly seal their seventh County Championship victory and the form is with the West Midlands side on the eve of this match. A run of drawn games has helped Jim Troughton’s men maintain their advantage at the top while an emphatic win over neighbours Worcestershire at the beginning of August underlined the strength of the Bears in both their batting and bowling line-ups.
Nottinghamshire had kept pace with Warwickshire through much of the campaign but their season seemed to fall away badly after their elimination from the Friends Life T20 at the quarter final stage. Notts’ challenge was also hampered by the call-up of James Taylor to the England test squad which robbed the county of one of their most consistent batsmen.
While the run of poor form after the T20 exit may have been a coincidence, it’s true that defeat to Durham and a rain affected draw at Somerset mean that Chris Read’s side simply have to win this game to keep their title hopes alive.
How Bet365 Bookmaker bets on this game:
10/11 Warwickshire, 10/11 Nottinghamshire
England duty will also have an effect on this match but Nottinghamshire have been hit hardest by call-ups to the squads for the One Day and T20 series with South Africa. Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann are rarely seen in an Outlaws shirt these days but the county will also be without Samit Patel, Alex Hales and Michael Lumb who will all play some part in the international matches. In addition, Adam Voges has been recalled by Western Australia ahead of the county season back home.
Warwickshire meanwhile will be without Ian Bell, Jonathon Trott and Chris Woakes for this game but the Bears will have greater strength in depth in order to cover the absentees. Rikki Clarke can take Woakes’ role with bat and ball and he has been in stunning form this season. At the top of the order, Ian Westwood was welcomed back from injury and scored 120 in his side’s first innings in the Middlesex game.
Overall, the absentees will hurt Notts but they do retain an impressive bowling attack. If conditions favour the likes of Andre Adams and Harry Gurney, they could restrict the hosts to modest totals but do they have the strength in their batting line up to take full advantage?
Warwickshire will know that victory will virtually guarantee that title and there is no better incentive to defeat a weakened set of visitors who are struggling for form. A mixed weather forecast means that the draw is an option to consider but it’s hard to see anything other than a Warwickshire win at the end of this match.