Jake Ball is confident that Notts Outlaws can keep their winning run going when they visit Worcestershire for the penultimate T20 of the group stages on Sunday.
Victory over Birmingham Bears on Friday gave the Outlaws their fifth victory in a row and left Notts two points clear of the chasing pack at the top of the North group of the NatWest T20 Blast.
That means that continuing their winning run against the Rapids could secure a place in the quarter finals, depending on other results across the weekend, and the England seamer believes that Notts have exactly what it takes to do just that on Sunday.
“We need to keep going the way that we are, we’ll probably get a slightly different pitch there so it’s about adapting to the pitches we play on,” he said.
“We played excellently at home and away from home even when the pitch isn’t what we’ve been used to we’ve adapted well and if we carry on doing that then we can go a long way in this tournament.”
Ball has been making steady progress since recovering from a knee injury that caused him to miss the start of the T20 campaign and the first two England tests.
The right arm quick picked up three wickets in the first meeting between the Outlaws and the Rapids at Trent Bridge, in the local derby with Derbyshire at Derby and then he followed that with career best figures of 3-27 against the Bears on Friday.
Now he believes he’s getting back into the swing of things.
“I’m finding my rhythm now after the injury and it wasn’t the easiest format to come back into, especially with the way the games have gone at Trent Bridge this year but it’s nice to finally get one over on the batters for once.
“The ball is coming out nice at the minute and hopefully that can continue and we can kick on in this tournament.”
This year’s T20 competition has seen its fair share of high scores from the batting sides and Trent Bridge has been no different, with over 2,200 runs being scored in the six games at Nottingham.
That’s meant that the bowlers have taken their fair share of heavy hitting which means life hasn’t been too easy for Ball and the rest of the bowlers this year.
“It’s not felt too good to be honest but we have had plans and we know what we want to try and restrict them to and anything around that we’re happy with.
“We probably haven’t bowled the way we wanted to this year but if we keep winning games and keep outscoring teams then I’m happy.
“It’s been quite funny, a few of the times we’ve been going back up to the dressing room, you’ve gone for 10 an over and you’d think ‘I’ve actually bowled quite well there and I’ve gone at 10 an over’.
“But to be fair Picky [bowling coach Andy Pick] has been excellent he’s told us we’re sticking to our guns, we’re bowling what we need to bowl and ultimately we’re winning games so that’s the main thing.”
One of the Outlaws main challenges heading into Sunday’s clash with Worcestershire will be trying to keep Ross Whiteley quiet.
The Rapids middle order pinch hitter famously hit six sixes in an over against Yorkshire earlier this year but Ball believes he and the other Notts bowlers can minimise the danger man’s impact.
“From a seam bowler’s point of view, it’s about trying to block out his strong areas – cow corner, long on, setting a field and bowling to it and being clinical with your decision making,” he said.
“He’s the sort of player that if you’re not quite on it he’ll punish you but if we get our plans right and get our field set right hopefully we can get him cheaply.”
Notts Outlaws Squad to face Worcestershire Rapids (from): Brendan Taylor, Jake Libby, Steven Mullaney, Riki Wessels, Alex Hales, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Samit Patel, Tom Moores, Jake Ball, Dan Christian, Ish Sodhi, and Billy Root.
The Outlaws final home group stage match at Trent Bridge takes place on Friday 18 August at 7pm against Leicestershire Foxes. Click here to book tickets.