Notts Outlaws face a pivotal weekend in their bid to qualify for the knockout stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup, acknowledge experienced duo Luke Fletcher and Ross Taylor.
The current holders of the competition haven’t left themselves too much room for manoeuvre after two defeats in their opening five matches leaves them with ground to make up in the North Group.
Current group leaders Worcestershire visit Nottingham today (11am start) and they boast a strong recent record against Notts – and also at Trent Bridge.
A trip to Durham follows on Sunday - and the results of the two matches are likely to be key to deciding the Outlaws' fate.
“Worcestershire are a very good one-day side,” said Notts seamer Fletcher. “We’ve got to make sure we prep up well for the game and go at them hard.
“Obviously after losing the match on Sunday (to Warwickshire), we’ve put a bit of pressure on ourselves to qualify but we have a bloke coming back for this game called Alex Hales, who we’ve all been missing – and I think he’s been missing us as well.”
“We need to win so we don’t have to rely on other people.” batsman Ross Taylor
Hales is yet to play any domestic cricket this season, after spending the last six weeks with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League.
The opener made his mark in last year’s Royal London One-Day Cup competition by scoring an undefeated 187 in the final against Surrey.
Fletcher added: “He’s as excited to be back as we are to are to have him and to bring a world class player in will obviously give the batting line-up a massive boost.”
Team-mate Ross Taylor agrees that Notts may now need to win all three of their remaining qualifying matches, including iat Chester-le-Street, in order to have a chance of defending their trophy.
“Do we need to win all three? Yes, I think we probably do,” he said. “We need to do it so we don’t have to rely on other people.
“We are certainly capable of winning all three and we don’t need to search too much to see what needs to happen. We need to do the basics well to give ourselves a chance.”
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