Steelbacks batter Emilio Gay relishing big Blast test at Edgbaston

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Emilio Gay says he and his Steelbacks team-mates have to relish Friday night's trip to the ‘Bears' pit’!

Northants face a third away day in the space of five days as they go to what is set to be a raucous Edgbaston to take on Birmingham Bears, following on from Sunday's win at Worcestershire and Tuesday's loss at Durham.

In an incredibly tight North Group, the County may be second bottom in the table are still right in the frame for qualification for the quarter-finals at the halfway stage of the competition, having won three and lost four of their seven games.

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They are two points off the top four, and four points behind new leaders Notts Outlaws, having played a game fewer.

Emilo Gay will open the batting for Steelbacks at Edgbaston on FridayEmilo Gay will open the batting for Steelbacks at Edgbaston on Friday
Emilo Gay will open the batting for Steelbacks at Edgbaston on Friday

Outlaws went top following their 26-run win over Durham at Trent Bridge on Thursday night.

Northants were beaten by four wickets at Durham on Tuesday, and will be aiming to get their campaign back on track by beating the Bears and exacting revenge for a 21-run defeat in the reverse fixture at Wantage Road last Wednesday (May 31).

That win was the Bears' fourth on the spin and they looked certainties to qualify, but they have since lost their next three, including two on home soil at the hands of Notts and Derbyshire, who were six-wicket winners their on Wednesday night.

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So the Bears are out of sorts and are beatable, and Gay, who will once again open the batting in the absence of the injured Ricardo Vasconcelos, says the Steelbacks have to go into the game with confidence and belief.

"The Bears are up there, they are a tough team, and obviously Edgbaston on a Friday night is going to be a nice one to play in," said the left-hander, who top-scored with 53 in the loss at Durham.

"I am looking forward to it, I think we should all be, because these are the games you want to play in, they are the big games.

"And I don't see why we can't go there and perform, and take the game to them.

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"We spoke after the Durham game about sticking together, and there is some great cricket in that dressing room.

"It is just about trying to put it all together at the same time.

"One slightly disappointing thing at Durham was that we dropped a few catches as well, and they can really affect your game in this format as well.

"The Bears are a strong team, but we still have that confidence.

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"I don't think we can be fragile, and have confidence going up and down from wins and losses.

"We have got to stick together and back ourselves, and then we have a bit of a break after Friday.

"So we will give it our all at Edgbaston and then hopefully we can put on a show."

Following Friday’s date with the Bears, the Steelbacks players have a full week off before they host Lancashire Lightning next Friday (June 16).