Nottinghamshire are challenging strongly in the Natwest T20 Blast this season and look set to qualify for the quarter-finals, despite currently struggling in the County Championship league.

The Trent Bridge club currently lie second in the T20 Blast North group on 13 points, just one point behind league leaders Northamptonshire after accumulating five wins and two defeats so far this campaign. The Outlaws’ latest victory came against Worcestershire Rapids on Saturday July 9th.

Riki Wessels was the star of the show in that game, helping Notts (128-1) to a 9 wicket victory against Worcestershire (124-8) at Trent Bridge by scoring 80 not out. The veteran made his runs from only 35 balls, with six fours and seven sixes, as the Outlaws chased down a winning target of 125 in a mere 12.2 overs.

“Their triumph over Worcs Rapids came a day after the Outlaws’ encounter with top of the table Northants”

Their triumph over Worcs Rapids came a day after the Outlaws’ encounter with top of the table Northants. Northamptonshire (123 a.o) struggled to contend with leg-spinner Imran Tahir who was a stand out performer in Nottinghamshire’s (123-4) six wicket victory as he took 3 wickets for 13 runs in just 4 overs.

Outlaws Captain Dan Christian has recently praised the merry men on their performances and contribution to the team, “Imran Tahir has come in and obviously he has massive experience and is a fantastic international bowler,” Christian said.

“Batting, we knew the new ball would come on easier, so we wanted to take full advantage and did that very well. Riki’s a great player and I’m so pleased for him”, the all-rounder continued.

These are the latest triumphs in a succession of ruthless performances by the Outlaws this summer. The Trent Bridge club’s win against Northamptonshire was their fifth in as many matches excluding abandoned games with victories recorded in June against Derbyshire, Leicestershire Foxes and Worcestershire Rapids.

Their encounter with Leicestershire Foxes at Fischer County Ground on Tuesday evening was called off due to rain but the Outlaws face Yorkshire on Friday where they will be aiming to secure a victory to take Notts above Northamptonshire at the top of the T20 Blast north group.

“Their agonising defeat came against Durham on June 15th, who made 253-8 compared to Notts’ 274-5”

Coach Mick Newell is optimistic over Nottinghamshire’s prospects in the T20 Blast, “We took wickets regularly over the course of the two matches and that restricted the opposition’s scoring,” Newell said.

“Having Chris Read behind the stumps allows Riki Wessels to be out in the field, so that makes a difference, and so does the 100% commitment the players are putting into their fielding, which is great to see,” the coach continued.

In the One Day Cup Mick Newell’s team are also faring well, currently lying fourth in the table – one point off first spot after two wins and a defeat thus far. Their agonising defeat came against Durham on June 15th, who made 253-8 compared to Notts’ 274-5 but won by 2 wickets due to the Duckworth Lewis Method.

Despite Mick Newell’s side’s twenty twenty success, Notts have come up short in the County Championship this season. His team currently stand third bottom in the table on 93 points after one victory, five draws and four defeats so far in the campaign.

Their latest Specsavers County Championship Division One encounter came against Lancashire was drawn on the second day of play due to rain. Notts (474 a.o) had England fast bowler Stuart Broad return to the side as he took five wickets in Lancashire’s first and second innings.

“Nottinghamshire trio Alex Hales, Jake Ball and Stuart Broad have been selected by England for the first Investec Test against Pakistan”

Lancashire (276 a.o & 304-7) were struggling against Nottinghamshire’s bowling, particularly from Broad and spinner Imran Tahir as the home side made a fine batting score and were unfortunate not to go on and win the match.

Meanwhile in the national set up, Nottinghamshire trio Alex Hales, Jake Ball and Stuart Broad have been selected by England for the first Investec Test against Pakistan, which begins at Lord’s on Thursday 14 July.

Nottinghamshire Outlaws go into Friday’s T20 Blast encounter with Yorkshire knowing that they must keep their consistency in order to remain in serious contention for the T20 crown. Additionally, it is crucial they win against Somerset in the County Championship on Sunday 17th July in order to improve their County Championship form.

Joe Tanner

Image: Airwolfhound via Flickr

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