Birmingham Bears aim to harness the “good vibe” around Edgbaston following their excellent start to the NatWestT20Blast campaign when they face a home double-header this weekend.
The Bears are heading towards home games against Northants Steelbacks tomorrow (7pm) and Leicestershire Foxes on Sunday (2.30pm) in confident mood after winning their opening two games, against much-fancied pair Worcestershire Rapids and Notts Outlaws.
"was a brilliant atmosphere for the Notts game last Friday. The Edgbaston faithful were out in force and got behind the guys and there was a really good vibe about the place ."
Next up tomorrow comes a Steelbacks side with whom the Bears have had many classic duels over the years with honours almost evenly divided. The teams have met 27 times in T20 with the Bears winning 15 and the Steelbacks 12.
First-team coach Jim Troughton expects another stern challenge from Northants tomorrow – but is buoyed by the knowledge that his team will benefit from the boisterous backing of another big Birmingham crowd.
“It was a brilliant atmosphere for the Notts game last Friday,” he said. “The Edgbaston faithful were out in force and got behind the guys and there was a really good vibe about the place .
“Two wins out of two, against good teams, is a very pleasing start but we know we will have to be at our best again in these two home games. Northants have been one of the standout teams in the T20 competition in recent years and they will be tough to beat and Leicestershire have some dangerous players.
“But we will be ready. We have had a bit of time to plan this week after going into the first two T20s straight off the back of a championship game. We’ve had some time to look at what we can do and what we can work on to get better and that’s been really useful.”
The Bears have already benefited from the impact of newly-signed New Zealand pair Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme. While the latter has, due to the success of those above him in the order, still not had much opportunity with the bat, Elliot has played important innings in both wins so far. Meanwhile, they both add to Ian Bell’s bowling options.
“The two guys have had a great impact,” Troughton said. “Bringing in Grant and Colin gives us eight overs worth of options with the ball and we now have plenty of options which is where you want to be. We brought in Ateeq Javid last Friday and he did a great job and Boyd Rankin came in and did really well in place of Olly Stone who just had a little niggle in the calf region but hopefully will soon be back to fitness and it might even be against his old club tomorrow.”