Cricket Scotland’s Tilney T20 Blitz tonight goes head-to-head with England v India and a clutch of Vitality Blast clashes south of the border as Caley Highlanders entertain Eastern Knights in a crucial clash at Forthill, Broughty Ferry.
The Highlanders sit just a point behind their visitors and victory tonight would see them go top of the table and in pole position as the tournament reaches the halfway stage.
Ryan Watson, the Highlanders coach, has faced availability problems all season and these increased last night when skipper Kyle Coetzer was snapped-up at the eleventh-hour by Northants for their T20 campaign.
It is deserved recognition for the Scotland captain who is among the in-form white-ball batsmen in world cricket and will surely be a great addition to the squad of one of his former counties.
However, the development left Watson with mixed feelings. “It’s great for Kyle and I’m absolutely delighted for him,” he said.
“I think he’s in the top twenty in the ICC rankings for both forms of while-ball cricket so, to be honest, it would have been ridiculous if he hadn’t been picked up by a county.
“But, of course, it leaves us without our most experienced player and a really influential guy. We are a very young side and Kyle really gives everyone a lift when he’s here so there was a bit of a sigh of deflation when news broke that he wouldn’t be with us.”
With Coetzer absent, more batting responsibility will rest with his national team-mates Craig Wallace and Michael Leask.
However, the seam bowling department is weakened by the absence of Safyaan Sharif who is also on duty in the Vitality Blast, with Derbyshire.
Watson added: “Being without Safy leaves us pretty light in the seam bowling front but we have lots of attacking spin options.
“Consistency has been an issue for us this season – and you get that with young players – but we tend to bounce back well and that’s what we have to do tonight after our loss to the Warriors.
“There is every incentive because if we win we go top.”
Meanwhile, the Knights also have selection issues with Gordon Goudie and Peter Ross unavailable but Grange wicket-keeper Harris Carnegie is drafted into the side.
Coach Stevie Gilmour, whose side could put distance between themselves and both the Highlanders and the Warriors, said: “The guys are really looking forward to the game. A win tonight would set us up with a good chance to do well in the competition.”
Highlanders – C Venske, C Wallace, C Greaves, M Leask, R Johnston, C Garden, B Ditchmen, S Cameron, C Robertson, R Brown, J Hogarth.
Knights – A Brock, D Budge, M Castle, M Carson, H Carnegie, A Evans, T Foulds, P Mommsen, G Munsey, E Ruthven, M Watt, H van den Berg, J Kinghorn-Gray.