Notts Outlaws have named the home-grown pace duo of Luke Wood and Brett Hutton among a 13-man squad to face Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Tuesday.
With Alex Hales and Jake Ball on international duty – and Luke Fletcher not quite ready for competitive action following an elbow injury – at least one player will make their first appearance of the campaign at Wantage Road.
Wood (pictured alongside Samit Patel above) has recently returned to action in the Second XI after missing the early weeks of the season through an injury of his own, while Hutton has featured in numerous first team squads without yet making an appearance.
Brendan Taylor (pictured below) could add to his five tournament appearances so far in the absence of Hales. Greg Smith, who averages 37 in List A cricket for the Outlaws, provides a further batting option for an Outlaws side for whom victory would secure a place in the knockout stages.
A seven-wicket victory over Lancashire Lightning on Sunday put Notts’ fate in their own hands going into the final round of fixtures, to the relief of Head Coach Peter Moores.
“It’s nice to know that – if we do go there, play well and get a win – we’ll go through to the final stages of the competition,” he said.
“We know we have to play well because Northants are a good team with some very good players.”
Victory over the red rose came on the back of an unbroken stand of 181 between Samit Patel and Steven Mullaney.
Moores praised the duo for seeing the job through to the end.
“It was a great partnership and the most pleasing thing was that the two men in took us home,” he said.
“There have been quite a few examples of when people have played really well and then got out just before the end.
“But, this time, Samit scored a fantastic hundred and – with Steven Mullaney – they saw the job through.
“They finished it off in a ruthless and clinical way - which is nice because you’ve got to keep getting better if you’re eventually going to start winning in the knockout stages.”
Mullaney missed the opening three matches of the tournament through injury and has returned to the fray in style; averaging 75 with the bat and 32 with the ball across his four matches – including three half-centuries.
Moores admits the 30-year-old is an integral part of the Outlaws’ team.
“With bat and ball, he’s showing what a good white ball player he is,” said the Head Coach.
“We missed him, there’s no doubt about that.
“Credit to the medical staff, to James Pipe the physio who has done a lot of work with him, for getting him back so fast.
“Getting him back a week early has been significant.”
Notts Outlaws 13-man squad to face Northamptonshire Steelbacks (from): Brendan Taylor, James Pattinson, Steven Mullaney, Chris Read, Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Samit Patel, Greg Smith, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb and Billy Root.
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