Olly Stone insists Birmingham Bears are fully fired up for a “make or break” spell of three Vitality Blast away games in four days.
The Bears face a huge few days in their quest for qualification as they prepare to visit Leicestershire Foxes tomorrow (6.30pm), Derbyshire Falcons on Friday (7pm) and Northants Steelbacks on Sunday (2.30pm).
We’ve not played as well as we would have liked in some games so far, and I certainly haven’t, but the guys have worked really hard in practice this week and the spirit is great.Olly Stone
Just two wins from the first half of their North Group programme has left Birmingham playing catch up, with the bowling attack especially under pressure having conceded 200-plus in four successive games.
But paceman Stone is backing the Bears to show their quality when they most need it.
“These games together give us a great chance to find the winning formula,” he said.
“It is a tough format for bowlers and it’s getting tougher all the time. There were some big scores around the country last year but it seems to have gone up another level again this year.
“We have played on some very good pitches and sometimes with short boundaries so, as a bowler, that gives you very little margin for error.
“We are still well-capable of getting back up the group table and qualifying, but we know these games three coming up could be pretty much make-or-break.”
The Bears’ bowlers will be striving to put a brake on the scoring rate to help out a batting unit which has hit some impressive heights in the group to deliver two eight-wicket wins early on and then a world record partnership between Ian Bell and Adam Hose at home to the Steelbacks.
Former Northants ace Stone will be a key man in the coming games.
“You just have to try to be as unpredictable as possible,” he said. “I like to bowl most balls as fast as I can but sometimes you have to mix it up and try to set the batsman up with a couple of slower ones.
“We’ve not played as well as we would have liked in some games so far, and I certainly haven’t, but the guys have worked really hard in practice this week and the spirit is great. We just can’t wait to get back out there at Leicester and try to turn things round.”