Preview: Birmingham Bears v Lancashire Lightning, NatWest T20 Blast 2017

Birmingham Bears face Lancashire Lightning at Edgbaston tomorrow (2.30pm) at the start of what captain Ian Bell describes as a “huge” week for their NatWestT20Blast campaign.

There was frustration at Edgbaston last night as the Bears’ tussle with North Group leaders Yorkshire Vikings was washed out without a ball bowled with the teams taking a point apiece.

"It was great to see so many different players contribute to, especially the younger guys with Ed Pollock batting superbly against Derbyshire and Aaron Thomason among the wickets in Leicester."

Ian Bell

Rain around the country has left a North Group table which was already tight looking even tighter.

It’s all to play for as the in-form Bears now enter a crucial six-day period in which they face three vital games: against the Lightning tomorrow, away to Northants Steelbacks on Tuesday then against old rivals Worcestershire Rapids in the big derby back at Edgbaston next Friday.

“It was frustrating to be rained off last night because Yorkshire are a strong side and we are in good form so it would have been a cracking game,” said Bell. “But we take a point and move on to what is a very important week, starting against the Lightning tomorrow then against the Steelbacks and the Rapids.

“They are strong sides, as they all are in the North Group which is why it’s so tight. But we’re going into this busy period in confident mood after playing some really good cricket in the last two games.

“It was great to see so many different players contribute to our wins against Derbyshire and Leicestershire, especially the younger guys with Ed Pollock batting superbly against Derbyshire and Aaron Thomason among the wickets in Leicester. Now we need to keep that going.

“In a long group phase like this, it’s all about peaking at the right time, as we found out to our cost last year, and there have been some really encouraging signs in the last couple of games. Now we have just got to keep that going against Lancashire tomorrow.”