Western Warriors are aiming to get off to a flyer in Cricket Scotland’s re-formatted T20 Blitz this Sunday.
The Glasgow-based side have two home games at Titwood against the Eastern Knights and Caley Highlanders as they bid to take an early advantage before the action switches to Forthill and The Grange later in the season when again the home sides will have a double header.
Welcoming the re-jig, Warriros manager Colin Mitchell said: “It’s a momentum day for us and we’re looking forward to the new format.
“I think it’s a good change by Cricket Scotland because they’ve created three T20 Festival Days and hopefully they will attract big crowds to watch some dynamic cricket.
“It’s important to win the first game and then go on and take advantage with a second. A defeat first up and you have the chance to bounce back straight way.
“On the other hand, if the away team wins the first game the last thing they want to do is go home without playing again.
“It will be interesting to see how everyone handles it.”
Mitchell’s team has an attacking look, combining the flair and invention of batsmen such as Mo Awais and Richie Berrington with the big-hitting of Ross Lyons and Fazal Jawad while they also boast the in-form Riyaad Henry who scored two centuries for a Scotland Development XI against Australia’s Future Stars Academy in midweek.
The Warriors seam bowling has been weakened by the absence through injury of Scott McElnea but they have plenty spin options in Lyons, Mitchell Rao and Con de Lange.
First up at noon for the Warriors are the reigning champions, Eastern Knights, who will again be the team to beat – even if they have a point to prove following last week’s Pro50 Cup defeat to Caley Highlanders.
Knights field the country’s leading run scorer in league cricket in Carlton’s prolific Michael Herdman while former Durham batsman Dylan Budge is another player in form having also scored a century against the Future Stars.
Either of them could be overshadowed by skipper George Munsey whose scoring exploits in all formats this season have been well-documented.
Munsey can rely on one of the most experienced pace bowlers in the country in Ali Evans whose Carlton team-mate Cameron Shoebridge may be his new-ball partner.
Knights selectors have looked beyond the top flight for potential T20 talent and may hand a chance to RH Corstorphine bowler Joe Kinghorn-Gray.
The Highlanders, who enter the fray in the 4pm game, will give a debut to Aberdeenshire’s South African star Lesiba Ngoepe, arguably the leading all-rounder in the country with 502 runs and 20 wickets in the Eastern Premier.
Half of the 12-man squad are from Forfarshire, making the Forthill outfit the best represented club on the opening day of the tournament.
Warriors: R Berrington, M Awais, M English, N Smith, R Henry, C de Lange, F Jawad, R Lyons, A Raza, M Rao, A Sabri, N Alexander.
Kinghts: G Munsey, M Watt, M Herdman, D Budge, T Foulds, H Aslam, B Carnegie, S Whait, C Gosain, A Evans, J Kinghorn-Gray, C Shoebridge.
Highlanders: C Venske, C Wallace, C Greaves, S Sharif, S Cameron, O Brown, A Neill, C Robertson, L Sweeney, B Wilkinson, L Ngoepe, U Mohammed.