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Mitchell ready for in-form Bears

Worcestershire Rapids captain Daryl Mitchell knows what is at stake ahead of their NatWest T20 Blast clash with local rivals Birmingham Bears tonight.

The Rapids are closing in on a quarter-final spot after a superb start to the competition which has seen them win five in a row in the North group – a run of form that puts them joint-top with Lancashire Lightning.

That is their best-ever sequence in T20 cricket and sets them up perfectly for New Road’s sold-out clash with the Bears.

Mitchell told the club’s website: "It is always the big one, home and away, in the T20.

“You get good crowds in and we've had a reasonable amount of success against the Bears over the years so I'm looking forward to Friday night."

On the prospect of booking a top-four spot he added: “It's early days still, I guess. There is still a long way to go in the competition.

"We have won five of the seven games, we are exactly half-way through, and we've just got to go into every game trying to win it.”

Birmingham Bears can go to the top of the group with victory after beating defending champions Northants Steelbacks by eight wickets.

Batsman Jonathan Trott made his comeback to the Bears' first XI and will hope to be in contention again after they secured a fourth T20 win on the spin.

Birmingham will also be boosted by the return of all-rounder Chris Woakes, who is available after missing out on selection for England's second Investec Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley.

“T20 is very much a game of momentum,” director of cricket Dougie Brown said.

“After a few good results you start to believe in yourself and go out there and play with confidence.”

* Worcestershire won four of their first five Twenty20 matches against Birmingham but have lost 10 of the 13 completed meetings since.

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