All-rounder Steven Mullaney is hoping Notts Outlaws can go one better than last year’s quarter-final appearance as they prepare to get their Friends Life t20 campaign started with the visit of Leicestershire Foxes.
The Outlaws were knocked out of the 2012 competition by eventual champions Hampshire Royals, falling just short of a trip to finals day for the second successive year.
The 2010 semi-finalists have one of the strongest batting line-ups in the country, with England opening pair Michael Lumb and Alex Hales topping a list which also features the likes of David Hussey, Samit Patel and James Taylor, and Mullaney believes they have the firepower to progress to the latter stages of this year’s tournament.
"We look forward to the t20 every year and hopefully we can go one step better and get to the finals day again," said the 26-year-old former Lancashire player.
"We've got Hussey back to captain us and we've got a decent top six so if we play to our potential we'll be fine.”
He continued: "Obviously, Leicestershire are local rivals so it'll be a big game.
"They've got Josh Cobb who's doing well in the white-ball stuff so I'm sure they will bring a tough challenge for us."
Cobb is the current leading run-scorer in this season’s Yorkshire Bank 40 competition and, with Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan lining up alongside the Foxes skipper, Cobb is pleased with the quality of his squad.
“I am delighted to have Shakib Al Hasan in the team,” he said. “I know all about him from my time at Dhaka Gladiators in the Bangladesh Premier League.
“For us to have signed the number-one ranked all-rounder in the world is a huge coup and I know the other lads will enjoy playing alongside him and learning from him.
“We have a great spirit in the camp and the lads are determined to win games for each other.”
Also in the North Group, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance return from international t20 duty with England to aid Yorkshire Vikings against Derbyshire Falcons with winter recruits Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett taking their t20 bow for the White Rose.
Fellow England man Ben Stokes provides Durham Dynamos with a boost as they prepare to take on Lancashire Lightning without Gareth Breese and Graham Onions.
Shakib is one of a plethora of international talents that will grace this year’s tournament with Richard Levi and Cameron White both named in Northants Steelbacks’ side.
The Steelbacks can also call upon loanee spinner Graeme White but their opponents, Gloucestershire Gladiators, are without injury victim Craig Miles for the Midland, Wales & West Group clash.
In the same group Worcestershire Royals face Glamorgan.
In the South Group Hampshire will hope captain Dimitri Mascarenhas can recover from his injury to lead the side against Essex Eagles while Middlesex Panthers can hand Kyle Mills a first start versus Kent Spitfires.
Sussex Sharks, who have Dwayne Smith as an overseas signing, play Surrey in the other game of the evening.