Birmingham Bears take on Essex Eagles in the second quarter-final of the NatWest T20 Blast 2015 at Edgbston on Thursday.
The first quarter-final of the season saw David Willey of Northamptonshire Steelbacks hitting the fastest century of the NatWest T20 Blast ever and that sunk the Sussex Sharks. Can Essex Eagles pull off yet another upset against the Bears who are the firm favourites in tonight's game?
Birmingham Bears recently suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Hampshire in the County Championship final by 216 runs. The Bears would be looking to forget it and prepare themselves for the Eagles test on Thursday at the Edgbaston. Rikki Clarke and Ian Bell will be two of their key players in this clash against the Eagles.
"I'm not trying to overstate it, but we've got an enormous couple of weeks coming up. We've played some good T20 cricket - we have to get back into that mindset. We've got to forget about that performance. It's a different style of game now. We need to encourage the guys to free themselves up and go and do what they know they can do - people know their roles and we need to make good decisions under pressure," director of Birmingham cricket, Dougie Brown, told BBC Sport.
On the other hand, the Eagles have been in form and are raring to go against the Bears. Last month, they had defeated the Bears in the Royal London One-Day Cup and would look to emulate a similar performance in the second quarter-final, which is a repeat of last year's quarter-final (which the Bears had won by 19 runs).
In spite of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) deciding to let go off the English cricketers for the county clashes, Essex have named a 14-member squad without England Test captain Alastair Cook.
"It's a terrific game in prospect and all I can ask from the team is that they do their best and hope that they play to their full potential. Both teams have got match-winners but we know that when we are at our best, we are more than a match for anyone in the country in either form of the white-ball game. One of the positives for us is that we beat Warwickshire at Chelmsford recently in emphatic fashion; I know that was in the Royal London One-Day Cup but that should give us added confidence. We played really well against them and they'll be mindful of that.
"I'm very confident that we'll put in a big performance on Thursday night, we're looking forward to it and although we know we have a very tough match, confidence is very high in the group and we are going there to enjoy ourselves. It all comes down to 40 overs of cricket and whoever gets their skills right on the night will win the game. Hopefully we'll have a better night than them," Essex Eagles head coach Paul Grayson told reporters.
Where to Watch live:
The second quarter-final game between Birmingham Bears and Essex Eagles is scheduled for a 6:15 pm local time (10:45 pm IST, 1:15 pm EST and 5:15 pm GMT) start, with live coverage in India on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1. The live streaming option is not available in India.
Viewers in the UK can switch to Sky Sports Ashes and stream the same on Sky Go.
Viewers in the US can tune into ESPN 3 and stream the second quarter-final on Watch ESPN.