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Outlaws eyeing home quarter-final

Nottinghamshire Outlaws can all-but seal their place in the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals by overcoming Leicestershire Foxes at Trent Bridge.

The Outlaws have two games in hand over the teams immediately around them and are already occupying a place in the all-important top four.

Victory will move the Outlaws two points clear of fifth-placed Birmingham Bears – who have just one games remaining and a far inferior net run-rate.

Nottinghamshire have been handed a major boost ahead of their crucial final three games with powerful opener Michael Lumb back from injury.

Assistant manager Wayne Noon is targeting the two wins that would likely secure Notts, who lost three of their opening five Blast games this season, a home last-eight tie.

“Two more wins would secure us that home quarter-final,” he told the club’s official website.

“After the start we had, we were looking at just about securing a place in the top four; now we know that with a win or two we can play at home, in front of a big crowd who back us.

Rikki Wessels has been Nottinghamshire Outlaws' leading runscorer in the natWest T20 Blast this season with 314 at an average of 39.25

“Leicestershire have scored the most runs out of anyone in the North Division. Their batting is their strong point, for them to get as close as they did to us in the match at Grace Road was impressive. We set a big total, and they got much closer than we would have liked.

“In comparison, their bowling is weaker and we’ll just have to work hard to put plans into practice on the afternoon.

“It’s such an open group; we’re not looking beyond Leicestershire. From there, we’ll go on to try and beat Northants.”

Leicestershire’s bowling is set to be weakened by the absence of leading wicket-taker Anthony Ireland after he broke his nose while fielding for the Foxes second XI.

Left-armer Atif Sheikh has been included after signing a two-year deal.

The Foxes can not reach the quarter-finals, but showed they are still a dangerous team after sneaking past Durham Jets by three wickets with just a ball to spare on Friday night.

That defeat left the Jets on the brink of elimination and, should Leicestershire fail to beat the Outlaws, their hopes of getting out of the group will be over.

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