Notts Outlaws prepare for ‘big game’ against Durham in Royal London One-Day Cup
Notts Outlaws will host a first-team match at Grantham for the first time when they bid to book their place in the Royal London One-Day Cup knockout stages against Durham on Friday.
The Outlaws missed the opportunity to seal their progress at the first opportunity when they slipped to their first defeat of the competition at Worcestershire on Wednesday, but remain clear at the top of the North Group with two games to play.
Victory over Durham, who are among three clubs two points behind the leaders, could provide the added security of a home semi-final for the Outlaws and coach Peter Moores expects them to bounce back after a “bad day at the office” at Blackfinch New Road.
“We didn’t just win the first five matches, we won them playing very, very well,” he said.
“I expect it will be a good game of cricket on a good pitch at Grantham. We are playing there for a reason and that’s because we think it is a good pitch.
“Depending on other results we might find out that we’ve won the group if we beat Durham but it’s a bit of a cliche, we’ll take each game as it comes.
“But we’ll look forward to Friday because it’s a big game.”
The Gorse Lane ground at Grantham has previously staged one List A fixture, with Lincolnshire playing the Netherlands in the NatWest Bank Trophy in 1990.
Over the last couple of years Notts have started to use the venue for some Second XI fixtures and have also played practice Twenty20 matches on the ground.
The fixture comes almost 15 years since Notts last hosted a one-day match in Lincolnshire, with this week’s opponents Durham triumphing in a 2004 totesport League match, played at the Sports Ground in Cleethorpes.
Notts have confirmed that Alex Hales is available for selection following a 21-day suspension that resulted in his removal from England squads this summer.
The club confirmed in a statement it had met with Hales about his immediate future, which read: “The meeting was open, honest and constructive and a way forward was agreed between both parties. Alex has expressed a great deal of regret and contrition for his actions and he has ultimately paid a heavy price.
“He accepts that the position he finds himself in is of his own making. He knows he has a long road back to redeem himself in the eyes of many people, but that now has to be his aim.
“After much deliberation, we believe it’s in the best interests of all concerned for him to get back to playing cricket for Nottinghamshire as quickly as possible.”
Moores also confirmed that Australian fast bowler James Pattinson would also be involved against Durham, having been rested in midweek.
One definite absentee will be the unlucky Paul Coughlin, who will miss out against his former side after injuring a hamstring in his comeback match at Worcester.