Notts want to put on a show in crucial weekend of white ball cricket

IN PICTURE: Notts County Cricket Club 2016: Wayne Noon (assistant manager).
STORY: SPORT LEAD: Notts County Cricket Club Team /Pen pictures for season 2016.  Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, West Bridgford, Nottingham.
PHOTOGRAPHER: MARK FEAR

IN PICTURE: Notts County Cricket Club 2016: Wayne Noon (assistant manager). STORY: SPORT LEAD: Notts County Cricket Club Team /Pen pictures for season 2016. Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, West Bridgford, Nottingham. PHOTOGRAPHER: MARK FEAR

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Notts Outlaws face a crucial weekend of white ball cricket, with three matches in four days.

On Friday evening the table-topping Outlaws will look to ensure they maintain momentum as the NatWest T20 Blast competition reaches its final round of qualifying matches.

The Outlaws, two points clear at the head of the North Group, face local rivals Leicestershire Foxes at Trent Bridge. Already guaranteed a home quarter final, their sixth in seven years, Dan Christian’s side are also on the brink of setting a new county record.

Last Friday’s victory over the Birmingham Bears was their seventh straight win, equalling the run of results achieved in the 2014 group stages. Victory over the Foxes would set a new benchmark, leading into the knock-out stages.

Wayne Noon, Nottinghamshire’s Head Coach, has stressed the importance of keeping the run going.

“We want to put on a good show for all of our fans,” he said. “Hopefully we can then set up a good quarter final for them to come and watch. This is an important time for us. We’ve got three matches in four days and our aim is to try and reach Monday night having secured two home quarter final ties.”

Noon wouldn’t be drawn on the possibility of any squad rotation but stated, “If we consider that it’s the right decision to rest some people on Friday night then we’ll do that.”

On Sunday and Monday the focus then reverts back to the Royal London One-Day Cup, with the Outlaws needing a couple of wins to guarantee that they make progress in that competition.

Wednesday’s loss to Yorkshire at Scarborough has left them precariously placed in fourth spot, the final qualifying position, although they do have a match in hand on two of the sides above them.

Ironically, on Sunday, the Outlaws face Leicestershire Foxes once again – this time in Leicester, over the 50-over format. One day later they host Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge.

“I think if we win both then we’re through,” said Noon. “We think they are both winnable games and we’re still very confident.”

Steven Mullaney, who scored a career best 89 not out on Wednesday, is looking forward to the weekend also.

“We want to give our home crowd a good send off on Friday and finish top of the group. Then we’ve got two massive games on Sunday and Monday, when we can try and ensure we qualify.

“If we keep playing the same brand of cricket that we have been doing recently then hopefully we can qualify and hopefully go on through to the semis and then Lord’s again.”

(Notts Outlaws face three matches in four days over the weekend:

Friday 29 July 2016 (6.30pm start) Notts Outlaws v Leicestershire Foxes at Trent Bridge in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Sunday 31 July 2016 (11am start) Leicestershire Foxes v Notts Outlaws at Leicester in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Monday 1 August 2016 (11am start) Notts Outlaws v Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge in the Royal London One-Day Cup.