Nottinghamshire Outlaws continue their quest to reach the knockout stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup with the first of two home fixtures coming up against Durham on Thursday.
The match gives the Outlaws an opportunity to build on their three successes so far and to strengthen their top-three place in the North group.
Peter Moores is delighted that his side have bounced back in style after losing their opening two fixtures.
“We are certainly improving,” said the head coach. “All credit to the players, who have got the bit between their teeth.
“We’ve got two home games now, and we know we’ve got to keep winning because for the first time, we’ve got ourselves into the top three and the qualifying positions.”
Thursday’s televised match will begin at 2 pm and will conclude under the Trent Bridge floodlights, with Moores wary of the threat that Durham pose.
“They’re a dangerous team and they’ve already shown with bat and ball that they can play some good cricket,” he said. “But we’ll try and have the same focus that we have had all the way through the season so far.
“We’ll focus on ourselves and what we need to do. We’ve got certain areas that we keep wanting to tidy up in.”
Despite being handed a points’ loss in both the county championship and the 50-overs competition, Moores feels that Durham shouldn’t be ruled out of the Royal London One-Day Cup.
“They obviously had a very heavy points’ deduction in the championship but two points in this is a bit easier to get around.
“They’ve got some good players, and good players want to perform whatever the situation. Keaton Jennings is in good form at the top of the order. They’ve got experience with Paul Collingwood, and the bowling unit is strong.
“They’ve always produced good seamers, and they’re going to be a handful, so we’ll have to play well.”
Samit Patel was man-of-the-match when the sides last met at Trent Bridge, a quarter-final tie in 2015. He claimed figures of 4-11 that day, but Patel hasn’t had his usual quota of overs yet this year, with Notts’s quick bowlers taking centre stage.
“It’s been brilliant for us to have Broady and Patto (Stuart Broad and James Pattinson) available, plus Harry Gurney and Fletch (Luke Fletcher),” said the all-rounder. “Hopefully, towards the end of the year, when we do get a few spinning wickets, the ball will come to me.”
Patel has relished the opportunity of a promotion up the batting order to number three, and he made the most of his chance on Sunday with a quickfire innings of 79 in the win over Leicestershire Foxes.
“It was good to get some runs and to get some important runs as well,” he said. “For, once I’ve not said anything. It’s caught me a little bit by surprise that I’ve gone up to three in the four-dayers and then I’ve found myself at three in the one-dayers as well. But I’m pretty happy about it and with the way I’m hitting the ball at the minute.”
After making his first-team debut for Nottinghamshire way back in 2002, Patel is enjoying a well-deserved testimonial season and Thursday’s match has been designated as his benefit match, with proceeds going to several good causes.
“I really hope as many people as possible are able to come on Thursday,” said the 32-year old. “We’re raising money for the Broad Appeal, the Trent Bridge Trust and the British Heart Foundation. They’re all good causes, so hopefully the sun will be out and it will be a bit warmer than of late!”