Warwickshire: Bears' big players keep performing, says Chopra

Varun Chopra and Rikki Clarke
Varun Chopra (left) and Rikki Clarke played key roles in the Bears' T20 Blast triumph at Edgbaston

Treble-chasing Warwickshire's key to success over the second half of the season has been to get their big players performing on the biggest stages, says skipper Varun Chopra.

After a faltering start to the 2014 season, the Bears have been transformed over the past two months.

Thursday night's progress to the One-Day Cup final at Lord's followed their T20 Blast victory at Edgbaston.

"Senior players are stepping up in the big games," Chopra told BBC Sport.

"The big players are doing it when it matters."

There is even talk of repeating the treble achieved by Dermot Reeve's team in 1994, as Warwickshire are still not out of it in the Championship tile race, hoping that leaders Yorkshire slip up next week against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

But it is in one-day cricket that Dougie Brown's well-prepared side have excelled in recent weeks.

Ian Bell and Chris Woakes both came from England duty to play key roles on Twenty20 finals day on their own ground and are again expected to be contenders at Lord's.

The Bears at Lord's
1966 Gillette Cup - BEAT Worcestershire by five wickets1964 Gillette Cup - LOST to Sussex by eight wickets
1968 Gillette Cup - BEAT Sussex by four wickets1972 Gillette Cup - LOST to Lancashire by four wickets
1989 NatWest Trophy - BEAT Middlesex by four wickets1982 NatWest Trophy - LOST to Surrey by nine wickets
1993 NatWest Trophy - BEAT Sussex by five wickets1984 B & H Cup - LOST to Lancashire by six wickets
1994 B & H Cup - BEAT Worcestershire by six wickets1994 NatWest Trophy - LOST to Worcestershire by eight wickets
1995 NatWest Trophy - BEAT Northants by four wickets1997 NatWest Trophy - LOST to Essex by nine wickets
2002 B & H Cup - BEAT Essex by five wickets2000 NatWest Trophy - LOST to Gloucestershire by 22 runs (D/L)
2010 CB40 - BEAT Somerset by three wickets2005 C & G Trophy - LOST to Hampshire by 18 runs
2012 CB40 - LOST to Hampshire by one run

Jonathan Trott, continuing his rehabilitation at county level, Tim Ambrose and Chopra himself all hit half-centuries in the six-wicket semi-final win over Kent.

Rikki Clarke has been a model of consistency and man-of-the-match Boyd Rankin bowled at blistering pace to help earn the Bears their third trip to Lord's in five years - and their 18th in 52 summers of one-day cricket.

"Jonathan Trott's one-day form has been really good," added Chopra. "Having someone solid at number three is good for any team. And Tim Ambrose showed his cool, calm head again and played really well.

"Sometimes the lower totals can be tricky as you're not sure how to pace it. But this was all about getting the job done. A really professional performance.

"It's going nicely for us. The ball's rolling our way and everyone's enjoying it. We're just trying to keep it simple.

"It should be another great day in front of what we hope will be a near-enough full house.

"And, if we keep playing how we're capable of and the big performers keep stepping up, we'll give anyone a good game."

Bears captain Varun Chopra was talking to BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Clive Eakin.

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