Notts Outlaws (A) – 20 May 2016
Birmingham Bears will launch their NatWestT20Blast campaign with a testing trip to the East Midlands to face a powerful Outlaws unit.
"It’s a big surprise that the Outlaws have never won the NatWestT20Blast."
The mouth-watering clash will be the latest instalment of a long, long Trent Bridge history between the two great Midlands pillars of county cricket. Way back in May 1894, Warwickshire began their first-class existence with a visit to the Nottingham ground – 122 years on, the pace will be a lot faster and the scoring (and the bats) a lot heavier as Birmingham Bears begin their 2016 T20 challenge.
It’s a big surprise that the Outlaws have never won the NatWestT20Blast, considering the batting armoury they have boasted over the years and still boast today. The Trent Bridge crowds are well-accustomed to ducking for cover as sixes fly from the likes of Alex Hales, Samit Patel and Rikki Wessels.
But the Bears have their big guns too. They will look to start their group programme with a bang and have shown the Trent Bridge regulars that they have the bowling skills to thwart big-hitters.
Birmingham’s 2014 visit to Nottingham brought a sensational 18-run win after the Outlaws, chasing 156, charged to 57 without loss in 5.1 overs then collapsed against a deadly spin attack. The ever-miserly Jeetan Patel conceded just 18 runs in four overs while Ateeq Javid added a vital wicket and conceded just 11 in two overs to follow his important runs scored earlier in a crucial stand of 67 in 37 balls with Laurie Evans.