Dominic Sibley insists that Birmingham Bears must forget all the permutations and just focus on beating Lancashire Lightning in their last NatWest T20 Blast group game at Emirates Old Trafford tonight (7.00pm). The North Group will reach its climax as tight as ever with qualification spots still very much up for grabs.
The Bears’ eight-wicket win at Durham Jets, in which Sibley scored his maiden half-century for the club, last Sunday means that victory over the Lighting could secure their place in the last eight.
But not definitely. Very little is definite heading into a final round of fixtures which could be even further complicated by rain.
It’s a complex equation. So, reckons Sibley, best forget all about what-might-be and instead think only about beating Lancashire.
And the Bears will look to reproduce their form from last Sunday when Durham were damaged first by the potent bowling of Jeetan Patel and Olly Stone and then the explosive batting of Ed Pollock (52, 25 balls) and Colin de Grandhomme (34, 22), supported by Sibley’s well-judged half-century (51 not out, 38).
"I was really pleased to get my first fifty for the Bears"
“I was spoilt, really, opening the batting with Polly when he plays like that. When he’s clearing the ropes and then Colin comes in and does the same, it makes it easy for the guy at the other end.
“It was a really good all-round performance. Jeets and Olly opened the bowling brilliantly and when a team is four or five wickets down in the powerplay it’s a long way back. Durham did well to get a total on the board but the way Polly and Colin played it was never going to be enough.
“Now we’ve got to produce the same sort of performance against Lancashire. The group is very tight with all sorts of permutations and there might also be bad weather around so we just have to shut all that out, focus on the game and get the job done.”
Sibley, who arrived at Edgbaston from Surrey earlier this month on a three-year contract, has settled swiftly in the West Midlands after making what he admits was a “big decision” to leave his native county, having come up through the age-groups at The Oval.
“It was a big decision,” he said. “I thought about it long and hard but the prospect of coming to Warwickshire really excited me. Listening to Ashley Giles, Jim Troughton and Ian Bell and hearing their ambition for the team over the next few years made me want to be involved. I want to be part of a successful Warwickshire side for years to come.
“Actually, I have felt spoilt in a few ways in the last week or so. Batting with people like Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott is pretty special and, as someone who bowls a bit of spin, I couldn’t ask for better than Jeetan Patel and Ashley Giles to have around. Jeets has got me out in championship cricket so I know how good he is!
“I wouldn’t say I was an all-rounder as such but I’m keen to work on my bowling. At Surrey, though Gareth Batty was outstanding, I didn’t do too much on my bowling as I was thought of as a batsman.
“I’m just looking forward to improving as much as I can as a cricketer, being part of this Warwickshire squad over the coming years and hopefully helping to bring a lot of trophies to Edgbaston.”