ESSEX four-day captain James Foster has shrugged off the tag of favourites as the county gear up for their t20 quarter-final.

Foster has been a mainstay in the competition this season and will line-up against Birming-ham Bears at the Essex County Ground on Saturday.

The Eagles secured a home tie after finishing top of the South Group, whereas their opponents came in fourth in the North Group.

And Foster said the home side are not going to pile additional pressure on themselves by dubbing themselves favourites.

“I don’t like the term favourites as I find it difficult to give someone that tag. Anything can happen on the day,” said the wicketkeeper.

“Last year we finished fourth and Nottinghamshire came first in their group and we beat them so I wouldn’t read anything into that. But we have the right qualities to win this match.

“The way we have gone about our business shows this is a special group of players as every single person has contributed.

“We must perform on the day. If we don’t turn up Birmingham Bears will take advantage and vice versa.”

And Foster called on the ECG faithful to pack the stands, and cheer the Eagles over the finishing line and on to Finals Day.

“We need the Chelmsford crowd to get behind us,” he said. “We have seen how hard it is for the opposition when the watchers get behind us and we need more of that again.”

“We don’t know a lot about Warwickshire as we don’t normally encounter them in any format of the game. But we are approaching that in a positive way and it is exciting for us.”

Foster praised the team for their unity in recording ten victories in the competition, but singled out Tom Westley as a key man.

“Tom Westley has been the find of the season for me,” asserted Foster. “He has taken this format of the game in his stride and has looked a seasoned campaigner.

“He has added some new shots to his game as well which the opposition will need to watch out for.

“Our opening batsmen are very strong and that puts the rest of the team in a confident mood.

“Now we want to get out on the pitch and play our game,” Foster added.