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Edgbaston dream alive for Bears

Birmingham Bears’ late run towards the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals will go down to their final game at home to Leicestershire Foxes.

The Bears have been playing virtual knockout cricket in their past two matches and, after snatching a vital five-wicket win over Yorkshire Vikings last time out, can leapfrog them on the final night of the group stage.

Birmingham have made no secret of their desire to reach finals day – which will be held at Edgbaston – and end a surprisingly poor record in the sprint format.

The Bears have only once reached finals day, in the inaugural 2003 Twenty20 season, as they have been knockout out at the quarter-final stage six times since.

Their hopes of returning to last-eight will not rest solely in their own hands, though, with victory over the Foxes not enough to ensure their progress.

The Bears will also have to hope that the fourth-placed Vikings lose at home to Notts Outlaws, while they could even sneak past Worcestershire Rapids who are at home to last-placed Derbyshire Falcons.

Leicestershire could hand a first competitive start of the season to all-rounder Shiv Thakor while Anthony Ireland is fit again. Nathan Buck is also included in the 13-man squad, but Charlie Shreck will be rested.

* Leicestershire Foxes have won the toss in all five of their completed Twenty20 matches against Birmingham Bears, winning twice and losing three times.

* Josh Cobb needs 12 runs and two wickets to become the Foxes second-highest run-scorer and scond-highest wicket-taker in domestic Twenty20 cricket.

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