Well-led Nottinghamshire looking to make squad depth count

T20 BLAST PREVIEW: All eyes will once again be on Alex Hales as Notts look to repeat their 2017 triumph and eclipse their quarter-final appearance last year

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Coach: Peter Moores

Captain: Dan Christian

Overseas: Dan Christian

Last season: Quarter-final

How did they do last year? 

There was a lot of hope for the Outlaws going into the competition after their victory over Birmingham Bears in the 2017 final, but were it not for Alex Hales unbeaten 71 in what was effectively a quarter-final play-off against Yorkshire Vikings, they would not even have made it out of the group stages. They eventually met their match in the last eight when Somerset's Lewis Gregory and Jamie Overton ended any hopes of a Notts title defence.

Who are their key players?

The full participation that Alex Hales is likely to offer to the Outlaws will come as a major boost to his side. The England opener scored 173 runs from six matches last year at an average of 34.60 and with international duties massively unlikely to distract him he should offer his side more stability at the top of the order and play more innings like he did against Yorkshire in 2018.
Harry Gurney took 20 wickets in last year's competition at an average of 19.35 which continued his renaissance in the format after most had written him off. That form saw him compete for Melbourne Renegades in the BBL, Quetta Gladiators in the PSL and Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, where he won the man of the match award on his debut with figures of two for 25 from his four overs.
However in each stint he demonstrated his ability both at the start and at the death with his slower deliveries and change of pace.

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What are their biggest strengths? 

Opening up in both departments. Ben Duckett is an excellent addition to the side from Northants and with Alex Hales likely to play a full part (despite his CPL stint) it could prove to be a formidable partnership at the top of the order.

At the other end James Pattinson and Harry Gurney could work well together, especially given the latter's exposure to the IPL and his rebirth in the format. They also have a reliable allrounder in Dan Christian who contributed 10 wickets and 415 runs in 2018.

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Alex Hales will look to repeat last year's virtual quarter-final qualifier heroics

Where might they have a weakness?

Matt Carter will provide the off spinners, but there is no leg-spin option for the 2017 winners this year with New Zealand's Ish Sodhi not returning. Christian and Mullaney offer excellent options after the initial powerplay but with no well-renowned spinner to offer support to Carter they could undo some of the potential good work from Pattinson and Gurney early on.

Sodhi had a big role in the victorious campaign of 2017 and was only second to Gurney in the wicket-taking charts last season with 19 scalps. If sides manage to exert themselves against Pattinson and Gurney, Notts could struggle to rein their opponents back in.

Chances of reaching Finals Day?

They have made it twice in the last three years, so history is not an issue. But will their defeat to Somerset be on their minds if they get to the same stage this time around?

Strongest XI (with T20 Player Index ratings): Ben Duckett (205), Alex Hales (64), Tom Moores (269), Samit Patel (99), Joe Clarke (241), Dan Christian (22), Steven Mullaney (292), Luke Fletcher (544), Matt Carter (1225), Harry Gurney (142)

Fixtures: Jul 18 - Worcestershire (h), July 19 - Yorkshire (a), Jul 24 - Northants (h), Jul 26 - Derbyshire (a), Jul 27 - Leicestershire (h), Aug 2 - Birmingham (h), Aug 3 - Lancashire (a), Aug 9 - Birmingham (a), Aug 11 - Durham (a), Aug 16 - Derbyshire (h), Aug 23 - Leicestershire (a), Aug 25 - Yorkshire (h), Aug 28 - Worcestershire (a), Aug 30 - Durham (h)

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