Notts Outlaws head to the north east to play their second NatWest T20 Blast match in 48 hours, when they face Durham Jets at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground on Friday evening.
Having lost five of their opening eight matches in this season’s competition the Outlaws plummeted to bottom of the North group standings but they’ve recovered in recent times to reinvigorate their prospects of making the quarter finals for a sixth straight year.
Wednesday’s nail-biting 3-wicket victory over Lancashire Lightning lifted the Outlaws up to fifth spot and their captain, James Taylor, feels the momentum is now with his side.
“We knew we had to win all of the last four matches to give ourselves a chance,” he said. “We’ve won the first two of them, albeit narrowly but the win at Old Trafford has put a smile on a lot of people’s faces and given us the confidence that we hope we can take into the Durham match.”
Taylor emerged from a disappointing series of personal scores to ease his side over the finishing line in midweek, finishing on 38 not out after hitting the last two balls of the contest to clinch the win and the man of the match award.
“I was just trying to guess what he was going to bowl and both times I got it wrong but luckily I came off and got enough of the ball both times,” he confessed.
“We haven’t had too many things to smile about over the last couple of months as a team but we’re starting to make winning a habit in the last few games.
“That’s two games on the trot where it’s gone down to the last ball, so to win them is brilliant, especially when it gets tight. To see the lads to hold their nerves both times has been brilliant.”
In order to keep their run going the Outlaws will have to overturn a wretched run of results on the Chester-le-Street ground. They’ve lost their last three championship matches there and were also twice beaten in the Royal London One Day Cup last season. The only respite came in the corresponding T20 Blast fixture, a year ago, when rain prevented a ball from being bowled.
“They are a really tough side, especially in their own backyard,” admitted Taylor. “But we know what we’ve got to do. It’s in our own hands, which is a good thing. We don’t want to have to rely on other people. We knew we had four must-win matches and we’ve won two of them and have got to win the next two now as well.”
Notts finish their programme with a trip to Grace Road to face Leicestershire Foxes and they’ll be hoping they’ll travel on the back of another positive result and with qualification still within their grasp.