Pivotal week ahead for Nottinghamshire

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Notts Outlaws face a pivotal week in their season with six consecutive days of cricket ahead of them. They continue their quest for a qualifying spot in the North Group of the NatWest T20 Blast with matches on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, before resuming their programme of Specsavers County Championship fixtures on Sunday.

The Outlaws were left with just one point to show for their efforts on Wednesday evening, when rain curtailed their bid to defeat Leicestershire Foxes after they had posted 210 runs.

“It was a frustrating end to the evening,” said Outlaws’ captain Dan Christian. “We thought we could have gone back out there because we felt it wasn’t raining any harder than when we batted but in the end the umpires decided to call it off. It was a shame because Hales and Wessels got us off to a great start and to get 210 on the board, we were pretty confident of going on to win.”

Christian admitted to being very impressed with his two in-form opening batsmen. “They’ve been fantastic for us and are complimenting each other too, hitting the ball so well and to different areas of the field. They are both in very good form and hopefully they can keep it going.

“We’re playing ok, right now, but it would have been nice for the bowlers to have had a go the other night because we’ve worked on some good stuff in practice during the week and feel we’re going in the right direction.”

Notts’ hectic schedule sees them face Derbyshire Falcons away on Friday before a home clash against Durham Jets on Saturday afternoon. Following defeats in their first two group matches the Outlaws have now worked their way up to fifth in the table and will be looking to crash their way into the top four qualifying positions with a couple of good performances.

Following hard on the heels of their trip to Derby on Friday evening, Nottinghamshire’s championship season resumes on Sunday morning when they again go to The 3aaa County Ground, to face Derbyshire.

Peter Moores is confident that his players will take the sudden switch in formats in their stride.

“Some players that haven’t been involved recently will have had time to prepare but for those that have been playing white ball cricket recently it will be a challenge but I’m expecting them to get a good night’s sleep in ahead of it and wake up ready to play.”

The Head Coach added, “It is the same for both teams, of course, but we are very excited about this because it is another competition we are well placed in.”

Nottinghamshire’s overseas plans for the rest of the campaign remain fluent, with James Pattinson now unlikely to return after a resolution in the contractual dispute now looks to have saved the planned Australian tour to Bangladesh. New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi is with the Outlaws as part of their T20 plans and may be in line for a championship debut for the county.

“We no longer have James available to us,” said Moores, “Or Stuart Broad, who is away with England – but Jake Ball is now back fit again, and obviously we have signed Mark Footitt since our last championship match.

“We’ve got Ish (Sodhi) with us and if we need him he would love to play, so it gives us a competitive squad and we think that we’ve got a strong bowling group to pick from for this match.

“Obviously we will have more idea when we have a look at the pitch and we should get some idea when we go there on Friday evening.”