Bears captain Carlos Brathwaite wants his team to seal qualification in style when they visit Yorkshire Vikings and Lancashire Lightning in their last two Vitality Blast group games this weekend.
The Bears will head to Leeds to face the Vikings tomorrow top of the North Group and very strongly-placed to reach the quarter-finals. It is possible for them to be pipped out of the crucial top four slots but only if they lose both games and a complex mix of other results comes to pass.
Brathwaite would like nothing more than to erase all doubt with a victory over the Vikings and then another over the Lightning in Manchester on Sunday.
“We’d love to win both our last two games,” the skipper said. “We’ve done a lot of good work to get into a strong position in the group and now we don’t want to get sidetracked and narrowly miss out on the last day. That can happen and we know that situation from the other side when last year we won the last game to creep onto the quarter final. We don’t want to be on the receiving end.
“We want to stay switched on and show the energy that has taken us to the top of the group so that we finish in the top four, and ideally the top two for a home quarter final.”
Before the tournament began, Brathwaite made no secret of his ambition to bring the Blast trophy to Edgbaston this year and that aspiration remains entirely valid. The Bears have played some exceptional T20 cricket this summer. They have blown a bit hot and cold, but on those hot days they have been unstoppable.
“We have proved over the course of the group that we can play some brilliant T20 cricket, like we did against the Rapids last Friday,” Brathwaite said. “Alongside that we haven’t been as consistent as we want to be. We have done a lot of things right and now it is a case of just finding ways to win games when we aren’t at our best.
“We think we are among the best in the country when it comes to navigating our way to big totals. We have regularly scored over 200 this year and scored the record Blast total and got the biggest Blast win. That counts for nothing when we start a new game but it does give us confidence that what we are talking about and practicing for is actually working. There is a really good vibe around the squad.”
England v India Test Match: Limited Day Four tickets left
Day One, Two and Three are now sold out and only a limited number of tickets remain for Day Four for the England v India Test Match at Edgbaston, 1-5 July 2022.
Tickets for Day Four are available from only £26 with under 16s £6, while Day Five tickets are also on sale now.