Friends Life t20 cricket returns to Trent Bridge tomorrow night (6pm) as Notts Outlaws face Leicestershire Foxes in their opening match of the season.
It's a switch of focus for Mick Newell's men, who have drawn four LV= County Championship matches in a row in red-ball cricket and were also on a run of seven straight wins in the Yorkshire Bank 40 before visiting Sussex ended that fine white-ball run with victory last Friday.
"We've got Hussey back to captain us and we've got a decent top six so if we play to our potential we'll be fine." Steven Mullaney
The Outlaws fell at the quarter-final stage of the Friends Life t20 last season to Hampshire and this time around they start their quest for glory in what is a repeat of the 2006 final – when they lost to the Foxes at Trent Bridge.
But all-rounder Steven Mullaney says Notts should be confident ahead of this year's tournament, especially with the likes of Alex Hales, Michael Lumb, David Hussey, Samit Patel and James Taylor making up an enviable top order line-up.
"We look forward to the t20 every year and hopefully we can go one step better and get to the finals day again," said the 26-year-old former Lancashire player.
"We've got Hussey back to captain us and we've got a decent top six so if we play to our potential we'll be fine.
"Obviously Leicester are local rivals so it'll be a big game and a couple of our lads come from Leicester.
"They've got Josh Cobb who's doing well in the white-ball stuff so I'm sure they will bring a tough challenge for us."
Tomorrow night's game is the first of four games running in the t20 format, with Lancashire away on Monday followed by trips to Derbyshire on Friday and Durham next Saturday.
Notts return to four-day cricket in Division One from July 8 in a week when the Ashes comes to Nottingham and they do not return to the YB40 format until August.
The Group A leaders won't be able to bounce back from their recent defeat until they welcome Northants for the first of three games in the space of five days from August 11, before finishing away at Kent on August 26 – by which point Notts will hope they have secured a home semi-final in the competition.
"We always knew it would be tough to win 12 out of 12 in the YB40," added Mullaney.
"We're still in a massively strong position to qualify for that home semi-final and if we even win three out of our four games we will be guaranteed that.
"We've got a nice little break from that competition and then we can hit the ground running when we come back to it.
"I think we've got enough good players to perform when we come back to it, we'll enjoy the break and try to hit the t20s running this week."
Mullaney found himself in the rare position of opening the batting for Notts this week, against Sussex in the County Championship, but it is his form with the ball that has impressed most so far this season.
The medium pacer's form has been very consistent in the YB40 so far and while he got career-best figures of 4-29 in the win over Kent earlier in the season, Mullaney has backed this up with solid figures of 1-36, 2-30, 1-37 and 2-30 in his last four outings with the white ball in his hand.
This reliability will be useful for the hosts in the t20 games this season and they will no doubt turn to Mullaney to help slow the run rate down in games.
Last season he took nine wickets in eight matches in t20, at an average of 21.55, while no Notts player bowled more overs than him throughout last year's competition (26 overs, with a best of 4-19).
"I'm pleased with my form so far," he said.
"I play as the other slower bowler or spinner to Samit (Patel).
"I'm quite lucky that I'm a seamer so if the wicket is flat I can bowl seam but it it's conducive to spin I can bowl a lot of cutters so I'm lucky in that respect.
"I just try to work out a wicket as soon as I can when I bowl my first over and the best way I can't go for many runs which helps the other bowlers."
Click here to purchase tickets for Notts Outlaws Friends Life t20 matches at Trent Bridge.
Notts Outlaws Friends Life t20 matches at Trent Bridge
Friday 28 June Vs Leicestershire Foxes - 6pm TICKETS
Friday 19 July Vs Durham Dynamos - 6pm TICKETS
Tuesday 23 July Vs Derbyshire Falcons - 6.30pm TICKETS
Friday 26 July Vs Yorkshire Vikings - 6pm TICKETS
Sunday 28 July Vs Lancashire Lightning - 2.40pm TICKETS
Buy In Advance & Save:
Adult tickets £13 / Under 16s and Over 65s £7 / Family ticket (2+2) £33
On the day prices:
Adult tickets £16 / Under 16s / Over 65s £16 / Family ticket (2+2) £40
Enjoy Friends Life t20 hospitality at Trent Bridge for £84 per person
Your package will include:
- Use of a private suite in the Radcliffe Road Stand with a balcony overlooking the field of play
- Nibbles served on arrival
- Hot main dish served in your suite 30 minutes before the start of play
- Cheese, biscuuits and chutney during the interval
- Match scorecard
- Box host
- Car Parking 1:4
Call 0844 8118712