New Zealand star Jeetan Patel believes that a big home derby against Worcestershire Rapids tonight will give Birmingham Bears the perfect opportunity to get their NatWestT20Blast campaign up and running.

The reigning T20 champions suffered a torrid start to the defence of their title last week with a seven-wicket defeat to Notts Outlaws.

They ran into an onslaught from Alex Hales in his most destructive form, the England T20 opener hitting sixes off six successive balls on his way to a spectacular 43-ball 86 not out.

And the experienced Patel knows the Bears' bowlers must shed the baggage of that bruising experience and simply get back to playing the cricket which took them all the way to T20 glory last year.

"We got a sub-par score at Notts and got beaten comprehensively but as long as the guys realise that the Worcestershire game is another event, a clean slate, then it will be okay," he said.

"We certainly didn't carry any baggage from the T20 defeat over into the championship match against Durham where we played some really good cricket. T20 is such a leveller that anyone can have their day so we just have to make sure we are on song.

"Worcestershire is always a big game for us and one you always look for on the list, whether it is in the championship or limited overs. To host them first up this year, as opposed to going there, is brilliant and to have the support of Birmingham behind us again will be great.

"The support we received from the Birmingham Bears fans last year, particularly on Finals Day, was incredible.

"We are all looking forward to the game and it is an exciting opportunity to put last Friday straight to bed and prove we can play really good Twenty20 cricket."

Against a Rapids team making their bow in this year's competition, Patel and his fellow bowlers will certainly aim to impose greater control than they managed last Friday when they ran into Hales's blitz.

"There is such a lot happening in T20," said Patel. "Every ball has something riding on it and that's something I spoke to the bowlers about the other day, the fact that every ball is an event.

"If a guy like Hales come in, how do you go about starving him of the strike and making it hard for him to score? It's those nuances of the game that are so important."