Birmingham batsman Laurie Evans insists the Bears are bursting to bank a brace of wins in this weekend’s NatWestT20Blast double-header – and take some of the stress out of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The Bears will face Worcestershire Rapids at New Road tomorrow and Leicestershire Foxes at Edgbaston on Sunday still strongly placed in the North Group but needing to bounce back after successive defeats.
First up, the derby with old rivals Rapids tomorrow – and what better way for Birmingham to bounce back than with a victory over their neighbours and fiercest rivals?
“It’s important that we get back to winning ways against Worcester and it’s a game we’re all looking forward to,” said Evans. “It’s always a great game to play in at New Road. The atmosphere is great with a packed-out crowd and we will have to be really on our game because they are a strong T20 side.
“They have beaten us quite convincingly once or twice over the last two or three years and we have done the same to them so it is a massive game.
“Similarly on Sunday, we’ve got to be right on our game when Leicestershire Foxes come to Edgbaston because they are a dangerous team. We have got a high-quality bowling attack but the Foxes have a couple of batters who can really hurt you so we just have to make sure to get on top and don’t let up.
“The last two games haven’t got to plan for us in terms of results but they are gone now and we are still in a good position to qualify. Everybody is going to lose a game or two in the group stage and what matters is how you react.
“There are different ways to qualify. Last year we were very strong and didn’t lose many games at all. The year before that we scraped through off the back of a win for someone else, so it’s important that we take care of our own business and don’t leave ourselves depending on someone else.”
Evans heads into the double-header in fine form personally having recently smashed a 29-ball half-century at Leicester to power the Bears to an eight-wicket win then, last Friday, struck 37 from 28 balls before falling to a steel-nerved catch in the deep by Kane Williamson off Azeem Rafiq.
“It was a full toss that should have gone into the stands,” he reflected. “It was really disappointing to get out because we had them on the ropes a little bit and had control of the run-rate. Maybe I should have shown more responsibility but when a full-toss comes a long you just want to hit it out of the park!
“We should have got over the line but, like we’ve seen so many times, in T20 things can change in a flash.”