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04 Jul 2018 by Rob

Vitality t20 Blast 2018 – Nottinghamshire Outlaws vs Birmingham Bears Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Wednesday 4thJuly, 18:30 (UK)

Where? Trent Bridge

Weather? 21c and glorious sunshine all day

What channel is it on? Sky Sports Cricket

Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go

Are tickets still available? https://www.ecb.co.uk/tickets/domestic

HEAD-TO-HEAD
All-time meetings: Nottinghamshire Outlaws W8, Birmingham Bears W5

THE TEAM NEWS

NOTTS OUTLAWS

Coach: Peter Moores

Captain: Dan Christian

  • The defending champions kick off the new campaign in front of the Sky cameras and against the team they beat in the final last year, so they will have plenty of expectation for this opening match.

  • They have been boosted by the availability of fast bowler Jake Ball who played a key part in their success last season with 22 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 19.45, after the ECB released him as he did not play against India at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

  • They will however be without Alex Hales who is on England duty but they still have plenty of quality and experience to call upon with the likes of Riki Wessels, Samit Patel, Harry Gurney, Ish Sodhi and skipper Dan Christian.

BIRMINGHAM BEARS

Coach: Jim Troughton

Captain: Grant Elliott

  • The Bears come into the t20 Blast this season hoping to go one better than last year where they lost to the Outlaws in the final, so they have an immediate chance to gain revenge in this opening match.

  • The biggest boost for the Bears in the off-season was the re-signing of Kiwi international stars Grant Elliott and Colin de Grandhomme, who was influential last season on and off the pitch.

  • Veteran batsman Ian Bell will be key to their hopes once again and he starred in a warm-up match on Monday against a Northants XI as he hit an outstanding 98 not out from just 49 balls but they are without key all-rounder Chris Woakes who has a knee problem.

THE PREDICTION

This opening match is a rerun of last season’s t20 Blast final where the Outlaws proved to be that bit too strong for the Bears. Both teams are relatively similar in terms of personnel to last season but they are each missing some England players. The Outlaws however have some real strength in depth with plenty of good options to call upon with the quality of their bowling attack just giving them the edge here.

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