Outlaws urged to make it 3 in 3
Mick Newell has called on his Nottinghamshire players to beat arch-rivals Leicestershire and make it three out of three in the Twenty20 Cup.
After Samit Patel's unbeaten 84 helped the Outlaws see off Lancashire Lightning on Saturday, director of cricket Newell immediately began planning for tonight's clash with Leicestershire at Trent Bridge - weather permitting.
The last time the two sides met, the Foxes lifted the trophy on finals day with a controversial last-ball victory over the hosts.
Newell expects another close match this evening and said: "It's a very important game as we all know how accomplished Leicestershire are at Twenty20. These matches are so tight that every team can beat each other on a given day.
"But if we can get another victory and make it three wins out of three, we will have put ourselves in a strong position to move on and qualify for the quarter-finals."
The Outlaws will go into the game justifiably confident after two convincing performances in the competition so far as tight, accurate bowling has been backed up by authoritative batting, led by the considerable talent of Patel (below).
The 22-year-old followed up his 55 not out at Derby with an even more impressive half-century against Lancashire.
Coming in at number three with the scoreboard reading 7-1, Patel paced his innings to perfection as the Outlaws chased down their target of 164 to claim a six-wicket win with three balls to spare.
He hit seven fours and two massive sixes from 57 balls as he continued to demonstrate the form that has seen him hit 842 runs at an average of 60.14 in all competitions this year.
Newell was full of praise for the former England Under-19s star and said: "Samit deserves all the credit that's coming his way for seeing the job through.
"We've had a lot of chats with Samit over the years about him scoring flashy 30s and 40s and then getting out caught on the boundary or throwing his wicket away.
"But last season he began to show he was past that stage and he's now won us two games in two days, which just shows how much talent he has."
In front of more than 8,000, Patel again demonstrated his enormous potential with a perfectly-paced innings, but the result could have swung to Lancashire if the 22-year-old had not been dropped on 69 by Stuart Law.
The visitors had been contained to 163-7 as Nottinghamshire kept things tight in the field, with Graeme Swann leading the way with 2-22 from his four overs.
Stephen Fleming invited Lancashire to bat after winning the toss, and although openers Mal Loye and Sanath Jayasuriya both started brightly, they each fell just as they were getting going.
Loye had twice produced his trademark slog sweep to Charlie Shreck but then fell lbw to AJ Harris trying the same shot.
And Sri Lankan star Jayasuriya, who got off the mark with a six over cover, then pulled Harris to the waiting Will Jefferson at deep square leg.
The pattern was repeated with Lancashire?s Australian duo of Brad Hodge and Law, with the former bowled by a Gareth Clough off-cutter straight after hitting the medium-pacer for six.
Steven Croft was lbw in Swann?s first over trying to sweep, and Clough followed up in the next over with Law caught at mid-on.
Top-scorer Gareth Cross provided some late momentum with 33 from 25 balls, including two fours and two sixes before being brilliantly caught by Clough at midwicket, who also caught Kyle Hogg off the last ball of the innings.
Chasing 164, Notts lost pinch-hitter Swann in the second over to a leading edge off Oliver Newby to Hodge at mid-on, bringing Patel to the wicket with just seven on the scoreboard.
But the talented right-hander combined with Fleming to add 53 for the second wicket before Fleming drove Croft to Law at extra cover.
Patel kept the boundaries coming with David Hussey making 21 before he hit Jayasuriya to midwicket.
Chris Read was well stumped by Cross to keep Lancashire in the hunt but the crucial moment came when Patel drove straight at Law in the covers, only for the veteran to drop a sitter.
That left the way clear for Jefferson to drive Jimmy Anderson for four to seal the win and set up perfectly tonight?s clash against fellow unbeaten side Leicestershire.