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Fantastic chance to reach finals day
WE face Yorkshire tomorrow in the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 at Headingley and it is a good achievement to have reached this stage — that was one of our main goals at the start of the season.
However, now we are here, finals day is just a game away and we showed during the group stages — especially away at Somerset — that we can beat anyone on our day.
Headingley will be a tough place to go, but anywhere in the quarter-finals would be difficult. We will keep our game-plan simple and just aim to hit our targets.
Yorkshire don’t have Mitchell Starc any more, who was a key player in their group games. They are still a very good bowling and fielding side and I have been impressed by Gary Ballance in the middle order.
Then, they have Phil Jaques opening too, who we know all about from his time with us — knowing him is one thing, though, but stopping him is another one altogether!
It has been well documented that we have never been to finals day, but this is a fantastic opportunity and it is all about a one-off game now.
We go into the Yorkshire match in good spirits after our brilliant LV= County Championship Division One win at Lancashire last week.
The lads have often performed well without reward in four-day cricket this term, so it was great to get our first win. Myself, Bumpy (Steve Rhodes ), Phil Hughes and Vik Solanki all read the pitch the same — that it would spin a lot from early on. We were right, but it span even earlier than we thought when Simon Kerrigan came on after 12 overs and was turning it square past my outside edge. I thought if we could post a decent score batting first on that wicket, we’d have a good chance and Ben Scott was unbelievable in scoring a century.
He batted deep in his crease and waited for the spin while other batsmen were trying to get forward to smother it, but nicking behind or being caught at bat-pad. Scotty’s partnership with Matt Pardoe was the difference between the two teams.
Then Moeen Ali showed that he is a genuine all-rounder by claiming 12 wickets and out-bowling both of the Lancashire spinners, especially Kerrigan who is very well thought of.
It was a huge win that put some daylight between us and Durham as well as putting us pretty much on a level playing field with Surrey and Lancashire.
It has also been announced that Vik will be leaving us for Surrey next season and I will be very sad to see him go. He has been here throughout my entire time with the club, even back to when I was in the academy.
He has been an excellent servant to Worcestershire, but the club has to move on and it was the same when Graeme Hick retired.
Later this week, the touring South Africans will be coming to play at New Road. I’m not sure how much we’re looking forward to bowling against the likes of Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis, though, after how well they did in the first Test against England!
Joking aside, it’s always nice to play against the touring sides and test yourself against the top players and, as a batsman, you want to face quality bowlers like Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.