There will be more than a hint of revenge in the air when Notts Outlaws entertain the Derbyshire Falcons in the NatWest T20 Blast at Trent Bridge on Friday evening.
Last month’s meeting at Derby produced a rare win for the Falcons, only the second time in 12 completed matches that they had turned the tables on their near-neighbours, and the outcome has left the Outlaws playing catch-up in order to qualify for the knock out phase.
The home side have made light work of getting out of the group in recent times and have qualified for a home quarter final in each of the last five years. Things haven’t gone so smoothly this season, though, with six losses out of the ten matches played.
With time running out on their chances, the Outlaws will almost certainly need to defeat the Falcons in their last home match, before taking to the road to face Lancashire, Durham and Leicestershire in their closing three fixtures.
Mick Newell, Notts’ director of cricket, admits there can be no more slip-ups.
“We’ve backed ourselves into a corner where we need to win all four,” he confirms. “ If we do that I’m pretty sure we’ll get through. In previous years we’ve got in a position of getting 16 points early and then trying to win the group. This year it’s just a case of trying to get through by any means.”
Newell is also aware that his side haven’t been at their best and have struggled for any consistency in their performances.
“We’ve got to play better and all aspects of our game need to improve,” he says. “It just hasn’t clicked for us. We put in one really good performance at the start against Birmingham. Since then in other areas we’ve rarely played well enough and that’s disappointing.”
One particular area in which he’s looking for improvement is in the field and Newell clearly believes his side were out-performed in last Friday’s defeat to Worcestershire Rapids.
“We’ll tweak our build-up a little bit to do a little bit more work on fielding. When you face a younger, dynamic team like Worcester, I felt we were out-fielded. It’s an area where we can show a bit more.”
The Falcons are propping up the North group table and can’t advance any further but they will be looking to complete the double over their local rivals, in front of a large, noisy crowd, with Trent Bridge anticipating another gate in excess of 10,000 supporters.
Newell knows that his side can’t afford to take anything for granted after the 34-run defeat that they were subjected to in the first meeting.
“People expect us to win every match because of the quality of player we have but it’s up to the players to perform to a higher standard. We are certainly in no position to take anything for granted.”