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Sussex skipper's final ambition

Chris Adams is desperate to fill the gaping hole in his list of achievements as Sussex captain.

Adams, 37, has skippered the county in an unprecedented era of success, leading them two Championships and three one-day trophies.

But he has never taken Sussex to finals day in the Twenty20 Cup and the prospect of doing so will drive him on in the sold-out quarter-final against Yorkshire at Hove tonight (7.10pm).

advertisementThe Sharks enter new territory. They have never reached the quarter-finals before but five wins in the tough qualifying group meant they went through as winners of the south section.

They have discovered a winning blend after four years of underachievement in Twenty20 thanks to the big-hitting exploits of the competition's top scorer Luke Wright and continued excellence with the ball of the likes of James Kirtley and Mushtaq Ahmed.

Recognition of their improvement came last week when four Sussex players - more than any other county - were chosen in the provisional 30-man squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in September.

Co-sponsors Totesport make them favourites to reach finals day at Edgbaston on August 4 and 9-2 behind Lancashire and Nottinghamshire to win the tournament.

Adams said: "Getting to Edgbaston was one of the goals we set ourselves at the start of the season.

"Personally, it is a real aim because it is the one competition we have not done all that well in while I have been captain.

"I've never been but from what everyone tells me it's a good occasion which is great to be part of and the sort of thing that could bring out the best in my players."

Beating Yorkshire is Sussex's immediate concern and, although their Twenty20 record is only marginally better than his own side's, there is no way that Adams and Co. will take them lightly.

He warned: "Yorkshire's squad is such that they are going to be competitive in any game they play.

"We are at the knockout stage now and whoever plays well on the night will win - it's as simple as that.

"We have some advantage because we are at home and I would imagine nearly everyone in the ground will be backing us.

"But someone is going to go home disappointed and we have to make sure it isn't us."

Sussex reached the last eight despite being without England pair Matt Prior and Mike Yardy.

Yardy is available tonight and it is inconceivable that he will not play - which leaves Adams and coach Mark Robinson with a tricky selection dilemma.

Sussex have the option of playing three spinners if they also include Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq.

The more likely scenario is that Yardy will take Saqlain's place which would enable Carl Hopkinson, who brings so much to their fielding, to keep his place in the middle order.

Robinson said: "We will make a decision on the side closer to the game but someone won't play who deserves to and it is up to that individual to take it on the chin.

"What excites me about our squad at the moment is that our big players are excited about the challenges which face us at the moment - including tonight. That is always a good sign."

Squads Sussex (from): Goodwin, Nash, Wright, Adams, Yardy, Rana Naved, Hopkinson, Martin-Jenkins, Hodd, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Kirtley.

Yorkshire (from): Gale, Sayers, White, Brophy, McGrath, Rudolph, Younes Khan, Pyrah, Bresnan, Gillespie, Gough, Wainwright.

How they got there Sussex topped the south group with five wins and two defeats while Yorkshire qualified as one of the two best third-placed sides. They won four and lost three in the north section.

Previous record Yorkshire made their first quarter-final appearance last season but lost to Essex at Chelmsford. Sussex have never reached the last eight.

source - theargus.co.uk
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