Notts Outlaws head to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening determined to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for a spot in the quarter finals of the NatWest T20 Blast competition.
Advancing through the group stages has been relatively straightforward for the Outlaws in recent years but a stuttering start to this season’s campaign has left them on the brink of elimination.
In order to make progress it seems as if they’ll need to overcome Lancashire Lightning, before also picking up away wins at the homes of Durham Jets and Leicestershire Foxes.
“We’re still alive,” confirms Mick Newell, Notts’ director of cricket, “The equation was simple. We knew we probably needed to win all of our final four matches to get through and if we do that then I think it will be enough. We won the first of them, in beating Derbyshire, now we need to build on that at Old Trafford.”
At least six of the nine sides in the North group are still harbouring hopes of making the knock-out stages and Newell feels the Outlaws aren’t the only ones struggling for consistency this year.
“We’ve been very inconsistent,” he says. “But that is something you can say right across the group. Apart from the Birmingham Bears everyone else has been losing more games than they would like.”
With a squad packed full of experience and talent, Newell hopes his big name players will be able to rise to the occasion, when asked to do so.
“If we are going to get through we need our senior batsmen to perform,” he admits. “We are looking for most of our senior international players to take the lead and get us through now.”
Although Notts clinched the county championship title at Old Trafford in 2010, the venue hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for Newell’s side in the shortest format of the game.
One match was washed out there but Lancashire Lightning hold a six wins to one advantage from the seven previous fixtures that have been completed in Manchester. Nevertheless, Newell still maintains a positive outlook on his side’s chances.
“The only time we won was on our last visit there, in 2013. We played well that day and will be looking to do the same and get the same outcome this time.”