Birmingham Bears face Vitality Blast holders Notts Outlaws at Edgbaston tomorrow (7pm) knowing they have no more margin for error if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Two wins from three games have kept the Bears’ hopes alive but they must win their remaining four games – all tough ones against holders Notts tomorrow, then away and at home to Lancashire Lightning before finishing off against arch-rivals Worcestershire Rapids at Edgbaston on Friday August 17th.
"We have Outlaws then Lancs twice and it would be nice to come to the last game against our old rivals having to win to qualify and reap some revenge for the RL50."
It is a tall order, but one which they are more than capable of meeting, reckons first-team coach Jim Troughton
“We definitely have to win four out of four but that’s not beyond us,” he said. “They are four difficult games but we have enough players in this team who can win us matches. We don’t fear anyone.
“We have Notts Outlaws then Lancashire twice and it would be nice to come to the last game against our old rivals Worcestershire having to win to qualify and reap some revenge for the RL50 where I thought we were hard done by not to qualify.”
The Bears are under pressure at the business end of the group due to their inconsistency with emphatic wins combined with defeats rooted in conceding totals too big for even a mostly in-form batting unit to chase down.
Such inconsistency must be banished during the last four games if the Bears are to preserve their qualification hopes.
“It’s been an up and down campaign so far, so we have put ourselves in the position where now it is knockout cricket for us,” Troughton said. “We had a really long chat after winning at Northants last Sunday and we know there is no more margin for error.
“We’ve seen the windows of opportunity that we have missed during the group, like needing two runs from two balls at home to Northants and dropping catches in the powerplay against Leicestershire. But we can’t control that now. What we can control is how we play against Notts, Lancashire, Lancashire and Worcestershire.
“The guys had a couple of days off after the Northants game and now will come back in and train hard today with a view to taking the energy and confidence from that win into the Notts game tomorrow.”