NatWest T20 Blast: Colin Ingram power could take Glamorgan to Finals Day
'Watching Ingram up close, you can see he has effortless power'
Last Updated: 23/08/17 9:18pm
Two of arguably the more unfashionable teams in county cricket take each other on in the second of the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals on Wednesday evening.
Glamorgan are eyeing up a first trip to T20 Finals Days since 2004, having fallen at this stage three times since, and while Leicestershire have themselves never before lost a quarter-final, this is the first year the three-time champions have made it out of their group since last lifting the trophy in 2011.
The sides' success this season has come largely due to veteran foreign imports who have aided young, inexperienced squads.
South African-born Colin Ingram has been the standout for Glamorgan, tonking two tons in the tournament already, with a 42.33 average and a strike-rate of 167.33, while New Zealand's Luke Ronchi big-hitting role at the top of the order for Leicestershire has seen his 401 runs - equal with Ingram - come marginally quicker at 182.41.
The pinch-hitting opener is a 'returning trend' in the game, says Sky Sports' Rob Key, with Ingram and Ronchi two of the best in the game.
"Just look at Shahid Afridi's century in the first quarter-final," Key, who will be in Cardiff to commentate on Wednesday's game, told Sky Sports. "To have someone opening the batting who can hit the ball so cleanly is so important.
"It is a returning trend in the game. You can see that with the way Leicestershire use Ronchi, and while Ingram actually comes in at No 3 for Glamorgan, he goes out with the sole aim of giving the ball a whack.
"We had him with us earlier in the season, giving a batting demo, and watching him up close you can see he has effortless power.
"He is, arguably, the player of the Blast so far."
Glamorgan's batting hasn't been a problem, with the Cardiff-based county scoring more than 175 in all but one of their seven wins, but it's with the ball that they need to improve - none of their bowlers has an economy-rate under 7.8 an over.
While veteran seamer Michael Hogan's haul of 17 wickets is not to be sniffed at, Leicestershire skipper Clint McKay's 22 at 14.13 apiece comfortably eclipses that, with his tally placing him three clear of anyone at the top of the wicket-takers table in 2017.
"McKay has been such an important leader for Leicestershire," Key added. "They got off to a flier at the start of the season with four wins from four but then he got injured and they lost a few.
"The team's fortunes seem to be linked to him so it's vital he's fit and firing for the quarter."
Whether that is enough to fire to a sixth appearance on Finals Day, Key is not so sure, with the former Kent batsman saying the winner will be whoever can handle the pressure the best.
"Derbyshire played in their first quarter-final since 2005 on Tuesday, and it proved too much for them," said Key. "So whoever can handle pressure is paramount.
"Both teams were unfancied at the start of the competition, so how they react to the big stage and the added attention is crucial.
"Leicestershire have the pedigree, they've been to Finals Day, and won it, before. But, I just have Glamorgan sneaking ahead as favourites due to the Ingram factor."
Watch Glamorgan v Leicestershire in the second NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final, live from 6pm on Wednesday on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404).