Beware the wounded animal, so the saying goes, and the rejuvenated Notts Outlaws will certainly be guarding against any complacency when they visit the Durham Jets tomorrow evening in the NatWest T20 Blast, insists leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.
After a welcome near two-week break following a hectic fixture programme, made all the busier by reaching and winning the Royal London One-Day Cup final, the Outlaws have returned to action with consecutive home wins.
Durham, on the other hand, have endured a miserable start to their campaign in the shortest format, losing all of their first four games having already been deducted four points as a punishment for their financial problems that required ECB intervention.
“It was important to win our two games for peace of mind as much as anything else after those two losses early on.”
But Sodhi believes the Jets will be a dangerous team to face in such circumstances and says Notts will have to retain a strong focus if, at the Emirates Riverside, they are to make it a hat-trick of wins in the space of five days.
“As we’ve won the last two now, you would like to say we are on a roll, but it’s always tough to play teams who have had a few losses because they are always so keen to get that first win,” said the New Zealander.
“It was important to win our two games for peace of mind as much as anything else after those two losses early on. We had to wait a long time to put some points on the board because of the break, which did the squad good.
“Now we are going to a place tomorrow where I’ve never played before and we’ll have to try to understand those conditions as quickly as possible because they will be different to what we have experienced playing at Trent Bridge.”
Sodhi took an important 3-39 from four overs to drag the scoring rate back against the Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Saturday, having taken 1-35 in front of an Outlaws T20-best crowd of 14,123 against the Derbyshire Falcons on Friday night.
The 24-year-old, who plays for the Northern Districts in his homeland, admits that he’s had to readjust his thinking slightly in adapting to less favourable bowling conditions.
He added: “Trent Bridge has been an interesting place to bowl. The last couple of games have been very high scoring and entertaining for the crowds. 200 has been a score you can chase if you play reasonably well.
“Back home we base the spinners on trying to go at under sevens (runs per over), but it’s a little bit different out here and wickets are more important in restricting runs, which meant I was really pleased with picking up the three wickets against Northamptonshire.
“You have to say to yourself that you don’t mind going for a few more runs so long as you are taking wickets.”
“The boundary size can also play a big part. You want to be attacking and bowl wicket to wicket but there have been a couple of top edges that would go to hand on most grounds which have actually creeped over the boundary for six. The outfield is quick too.
“It means you have to say to yourself that you don’t mind going for a few more runs so long as you are taking wickets.”
Sodhi has taken inspiration in the way he’s looking to hone his skills from the Outlaws’ left-arm paceman Harry Gurney, who has enjoyed an excellent T20 Blast so far.
The former England player has recorded figures of 3-49 against Yorkshire, 1-29 against Birmingham Bears, 2-34 against Derbyshire and 3-46 against Northamptonshire in his four outings in this year’s competition, making him Notts’ leading wicket-taker with nine.
“Harry has nailed his bowling at the death, especially in the games against Derbyshire and Northamptonshire,” said Sodhi. “He’s bowled particularly well under pressure and the experience he has, having done well for Notts for a long time, really shows.
“It’s awesome to have players in the team who know the conditions and their games inside out, so they execute well. That’s a place I want to get to with my game.”
Sodhi, who has 14 Test Caps to his name, was also delighted for Luke Wood against the Steelbacks who, at the fifth time of asking, picked up his first T20 wicket – that of England Test cap Ben Duckett.
He also followed it up by having Rory Kleinveldt caught for a duck from the very next ball before finishing with figures of 2-29 from three overs.
“T20 is unforgiving at times –and the quicker you realise that the better.”
Sodhi said: “It’s tremendous to get your first wickets in a certain format of the game – I don’t think I got my first T20 wicket until my seventh game.
“Luke will have days when he’ll get 3-20 off four overs and then bowl exactly the same and get 1-50 off four overs. That’s just the way it goes in this game – it’s unforgiving at times –and the quicker you realise that the better.”
Off-spinner Matt Carter has been added to a 14-man squad to travel to the north-east that otherwise remains unchanged from that chosen for the Derbyshire Falcons and Northamptonshire Steelbacks matches.
Notts Outlaws squad to face Durham Jets (from): Brendan Taylor, Steven Mullaney, Riki Wessels, Alex Hales, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Matt Carter, Samit Patel, Tom Moores, Brett Hutton, Jake Ball, Dan Christian, Ish Sodhi, Billy Root.