Birmingham Bears will have a third NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day appearance in four years in their sights when they face Surrey in the quarter-finals on Friday night.
The Bears will travel to The Kia Oval in excellent spirit having booked their place in the last eight with last Friday’s thrilling victory at Lancashire Lightning, earned by some spectacular batting by 22-year-old opener Ed Pollock and recent signings Adam Hose and Dominic Sibley.
"It will be a great occasion at The Oval and I hope that we will have a lot of Bears fans making as much noise as possible – the way they did so memorably when we beat Surrey in the Royal London Cup final at Lord’s."
That trio is part of the new-look Bears T20 squad in 2017- and chief executive Neil Snowball is excited by what that developing squad might achieve – both this season and beyond.
“We were really disappointed not to qualify for the T20 quarter-finals last year,” he said. “But this season has been a much better campaign with the new guys coming in and playing some tremendous T20 cricket.
“Adam and Dominic have hit the ground running and Ed, along with Aaron Thomason, has shown the talent we have coming through the system at Edgbaston. Colin de Grandhomme and Grant Elliott have brought in a lot of international experience and quality to the side, alongside Jeetan Patel, and now, with bat and ball, we have a lot of good options which is what you need in T20.
“It will be a great occasion at The Oval on Friday and I hope that we will have a lot of Bears fans making as much noise as possible – the way they did so memorably when we beat Surrey in the Royal London Cup final at Lord’s last September.
“Surrey are a strong side and will be keen to get their own back, of course, so we know it will be a tough game. We have played some great T20 cricket this season and can beat anybody on our day.”
The Bears will be skippered at The Kia Oval by former New Zealand international Elliott following Ian Bell’s decision to step down as captain. The team could not be in better hands for the big game, reckons Snowball.
“Everyone at the club respects Ian’s decision,” he said. “He is, and always will be, a Bears legend and I am sure he will soon be back to his best and scoring a lot of runs for Warwickshire and the Birmingham Bears.
“But we are very lucky to have someone of Grant’s experience and calibre to take over the reins. I’ve spoken to him about T20 Cricket and it’s clear that he has an incredible T20 brain and is the perfect man to take over.”