Nottinghamshire’s cricketers have been bolstering their reputations with big recent contributions in several prestigious limited-overs competitions.
With the winter break in England, several players have kept themselves busy and are doing their international ambitions no harm away from Trent Bridge.
In the Big Bash, Joe Clarke’s tournament is rapidly coming to an end with the Melbourne Stars.
The Stars sit bottom of the table after 12 matches, with a miserable tournament seeing them recording only three wins so far.
Clarke’s form, however, has been the outlying success amongst this all.
He has scored 346 runs, which places him fifth in the overall BBL individual run-scoring standings as the competition approaches its conclusion.
Combining this with responsibilities behind the stumps for the Stars, Clarke has been doing it all and has emerged from a tough time for the club with his reputation enhanced.
Another Outlaw who has been busy in Australia this winter is Alex Hales, who was signed to the Sydney Thunder.
Notably, Hales was part of the side dismissed for a paltry 15 runs against the Adelaide Strikers in December, although his form recovered afterwards.
He scored a half-century against the Strikers in their rematch, then scored 59 not out from 36 balls against the Brisbane Heat and 77 from 45 balls in a mammoth 228-6 against the Hobart Hurricanes.
He has most recently been competing in the United Arab Emirates-based International League T20, with consecutive half-centuries for the Desert Vipers.
The first was a blistering score of 83 not out against the Sharjah Warriors last Sunday, while the second was a serene 64 from 47 balls against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.
Alex Hales is here to play 😤
A huge six from the Vipers and England man 👏 pic.twitter.com/pwTGouRk9o
— Cricket on BT Sport (@btsportcricket) January 18, 2023
Both have been in supreme victories for his side.
Hales’ involvement in the newly formed league will no doubt be controversial, particularly given that the new UAE-based league is regarded as the world’s second-most lucrative T20 division.
The Vipers, for example, are funded by the Glazer family, who own majority shares in Manchester United.
If it keeps the batsman in good form, though, Notts fans will likely be pleased.
Elsewhere, new Nottinghamshire recruit Olly Stone has been shaking off some fitness concerns in the SA20 league for the MI Cape Town team.
In the same bowling corps as the recently returned Jofra Archer, Stone has been holding up his own end perfectly well with some eye-catching performances.
He kicked off with figures of 2-31 from four overs against the Paarl Royals, including the scalp of England white ball captain Jos Buttler, before slicing through Quinton de Kock’s Durban Super Giants, achieving a haul of four wickets for 28 runs.
He was less productive, however, against Sunrisers Eastern Cape as he went wicketless and conceded 31 runs from two overs.
He will continue his involvement there over the next week before joining up with the England squad – including fellow Notts man Ben Duckett – when they face South Africa in three One Day Internationals in late January.
Elsewhere, Trent Bridge regulars also have a newfound set of heroes in the women’s side The Blaze.
Olly Stone steaming in like this really is a sight to behold 🤤
— Daniel (@DanSenior97) January 13, 2023
Previously known as Lightning – and before that Loughborough Lightning – the side are now based at Notts’ historic ground and are set to take full advantage of the facilities there.
Two young guns from The Blaze’s ranks are currently competing in much sunnier climes, though.
Down in South Africa, the England Women’s Under-19 team are competing in the ICC Women’s Under-19 T20 World Cup.
England faced Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Rwanda in their first-round group, with Blaze players Maddie Ward and Josie Groves part of the squad.
In their first game against Zimbabwe, neither wicket-keeper Ward nor leg-spin bowler Groves were required to bat as England raced to 199 for 4 from their 20 overs, but both proved crucial in an outstanding fielding performance.
Zimbabwe’s young guns were dismissed for just 23 runs from 12 overs, with Groves keeping it tight by just conceding five runs from her five overs and taking two wickets, while Ward was responsible for one run out.
The duo were rotated out of the side in the following contest against Pakistan, but both came back in against Rwanda this Thursday, 19 January.
Batting first for the third straight time this tournament, Chris Guest’s side notched up 183-5 from their 20 overs, with Groves and Ward forming a temporary partnership late on.
Groves struck eight runs from nine balls and Ward grabbed two runs from as many balls after most of the damage had been done by the England opening partnership.
There's one way to spend your 18th birthday.
Maddie Ward sends @englandcricket sailing through to the Super Six stage with dismissals aplenty.
— Nottinghamshire CCC (@TrentBridge) January 19, 2023
In the second innings, Groves stuck to her task of keeping things tight, conceding just one run from her two overs.
Ward was the star from the Blaze perspective, taking two stumpings and a catch behind the stumps to dismiss Rwanda for 45 runs and guide England to victory that assured them of the top spot in Group B.
The young team now progress to a second group stage of the tournament, where only their results against the second and third-placed teams in the initial stage are carried forward.
England sit second in Group 2, therefore, but will qualify if they hold that top-two position in a group which consists of six sides.
They next face Ireland this Saturday before facing off against the West Indies on Wednesday and should qualify for the next round if they win one of those matches.
The semi-final stage of the competition takes place next Friday, while the Final will be held on Sunday, 29 January.
Stay tuned with CBJ Target as we give further updates on all the players involved in international competitions in the coming days.