Durham Jets have the perfect incentive for success asthey prepare to face Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Chester-le-Street tonight.
Durham’s midweek victory over Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley saw the Jets climb to fifth place in the NatWest T20 Blast North Group.
A win in tonight’s Independence Day clash would see them move into a top-four place and a step closer to qualification for the quarter-finals of the competition.
Jets’ head coach Jon Lewis said: “We knew right at the start of the week this would be an important spell for us with four games in eight days.
“It gave us the opportunity to make an impact in this competition, which was something we had struggled to do.
“After the weather provided a setback against Northants in the first game, we’ve gone on to win back-to-back games against Derbyshire and Yorkshire.
“Those results have kept aliveour chances of qualifying for the next stage and we can take things a stage further if we can make it three wins in a row tonight.
“Notts are two points ahead of us, but if we win tonight our run rate means we’ll go above them and into the top four with four games still to play.
“Then it’s up to us to stay there.”
The Jets performed brilliantly with the ball to defend a total of just 123 against Yorkshire.
The spin of Scott Borthwick and Gareth Breese caused the Vikings all kinds of problems and the hosts were dismissed for just 95 with 2.4 overs to spare.
However, the Jets will have to improve their batting if they are to give themselves a chance against Notts.
Lewis added: “It was a tricky pitch down at Headingley and it had been used the previous day.
“We did not bat as well as we can. I thought a total of 145-150 would have been about parand we were a good 25 runs short of that.
“We’ve batted pretty well for the most part this season, and this was a one-off bad day.
“However, we made up for it withan aggressive performance in the field.
“Scott and Gareth bowled well, and we did brilliantly to run out four batsmen.
“Hopefully, we can maintain the same standards with the ball tonight, but also get our batting back up to scratch as it has been in previous games.”
With Ben Stokes on England duty and Durham’s leading T20 run-scorer Calum MacLeod still on international duty with Scotland, Lewis has named the same squad that travelled to Headingley.
DURHAM JETS (from): Mark Stoneman, Phil Mustard, Paul Collingwood, Gordon Muchall, Scott Borthwick, Michael Richardson, Gareth Breese, Keaton Jennings, Ryan Pringle, John Hastings, Usman Arshad, Paul Coughlin, Chris Rushworth.