Alex Hales confident Notts will be challenging for Vitality Blast knock-out stages

Alex Hales is confident Notts are about to hit peak form.
Alex Hales is confident Notts are about to hit peak form.

Alex Hales is confident that Notts Outlaws are about to go on the sort of run that has seen them challenging for the knock-out stages of the Vitality Blast so many times in the past.

Notts have progressed out of the North Group eight times in the past nine years and Hales is not unduly concerned about a start to this season’s Blast that has seen his side pick up just five points from the opening five matches.

“We’ve barely got going yet,” he said. “We’re still in the early stages of the group and the year we went on to win it (2017) we lost our first two games.

“T20 cricket it is all about finding form at the right time. As long as we are in contention at the back end of the tournament, that’s when you know what your best team is and have everyone performing.

“There’s certainly no need for panic. We’ve won a couple of matches but know that we still have plenty of room to improve going forward.”

Hales served some time away from the game this summer but has hit the ground running since returning, passing fifty in two of his four innings.

“I’ve felt in good touch,” he reflected. “I played in a couple of second-team games first, which helped.

“Obviously, only focusing on white-ball cricket gives you a lot of opportunities to practice certain things that you know you need to improve on and you can also improve your strengths and weaknesses.

“When you are playing only in one specific format – as we are at the moment – it gives you all the freedom to work on a few things.

“There’s been periods in the past where I’ve gone four or five months without playing. If you are just playing county cricket and don’t go away, then you don’t play all winter, so a couple of months wasn’t the end of the world.

“It gave me a chance to work on my fitness and a few other things, so I was able to come out and hit the ground running in this tournament and I hope I can keep it up.”

The Outlaws boast one of the strongest-looking top orders in the North Group and Hales feels that it is only a matter of time before they begin to fire with the sort of consistency that is necessary.

“We look an incredibly strong side,” said the 30-year old. “We’ve won two and lost two so far yet played nowhere near how we want to play.

“You look down our batting order and I think we’ve got some serious talent here. I’ve no doubt that when we come to the crunch games at the back end of the tournament we’ll be peaking at the right time.”

Notts face a tough couple of matches at the weekend, hosting Birmingham Bears on Friday, before a trip to Emirates Old Trafford to face Lancashire Lightning on Saturday.

“They are two incredibly tough games,” confirmed Hales. “Old Trafford is likely to be one of the toughest games in the group and we’re going to have to adapt when we go there.

“T20 cricket is all about adapting to different conditions. We know that the wickets are probably going to be different to what we’re used to, so we’ll have to be smart and proactive.”

Notts Outlaws face Birmingham Bears at Trent Bridge on Friday, August 2 and travel to Old Trafford to play Lancashire Lightning on Saturday, August 3.