Birmingham Bears batsman Laurie Evans will face Northants Steelbacks in a crunch NatWestT20Blast tussle at Edgbaston on Friday armed with some happy memories - it was against the Steelbacks that he cracked his maiden T20 half-century.
"I remember walking off the field at the end thinking it was the first time I had really helped us win a game and it was lovely. It meant a lot."
Evans has become a linchpin of Birmingham's team, delivering many match-turning innings from the middle-order.
They include six half-centuries in his 926 runs at 25.02, an impressive average for a player who has often had to go in and start hitting from the off.
Evans first gave notice of his firepower when he smashed his maiden T20 fifty against the Steelbacks at Edgbaston in 2012. After Northants amassed 149, the game was in the balance with the Bears 85 for four in the 13th over against an attack including Jack Brooks, David Willey and Chaminder Vaas.
But after Evans smashed a 34-ball half-century the Bears won with six balls to spare with the former Surrey player ending on 69 (41 balls, nine fours) having added 67 in six overs with Chris Woakes.
"I remember it well because it was one of my first games and I didn't really expect anything, to be honest," said Evans. "We needed something like ten an over but I got some luck and mistimed a couple that went in gaps and Woakesy and I built a partnership.
"I remember walking off the field at the end thinking it was the first time I had really helped us win a game and it was lovely. It meant a lot.
"Really it was based around the philosophy I've used ever since; get yourself in if there's time and then have a swing. Sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn't.
"I guess my decent average is down to a lot of not outs! There have been quite a few games when I have come in with only a few overs to go. But I always bat for the team and my role has changed slightly this year, going up the order, and that's taken a bit of adjusting to, with different requirements and a bit more pressure.
"Northants are a really good T20 side with some dangerous players and have got to a lot of Finals Days"
"When you go in late and tee off there's not a lot of pressure. When it comes off it's a bit of a bonus. There's more pressure to perform higher up and I haven't done as well as I would have liked this season, but it was nice to come out the other side with some runs at Leicester last Friday."
Evans would love to be in the runs again on Friday against a Steelbacks side which beat the Bears in the semi-final last year and has been consistently strong in the Blast in recent seasons.
"Northants are a really good T20 side with some dangerous players and have got to a lot of Finals Days," Evans said. "But we have started the group well and want to keep going because momentum is so important in T20. Things happen so quickly it can all shift the other way so you want to give the best account of yourself in every single game."
Take advantage of our July Double offer and see 2 games for just £30. Fans can see either Northants Steelbacks, Leicestershire Foxes and Notts Outlaws at Edgbaston. Under 16s come to all home groups games absolutely FREE.