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Still looking for winning formula

Graham Onions is set to replace Liam Plunkett as Durham Dynamos look to get their Twenty20 Cup campaign up and running tonight.

The Dynamos, who lost their group opener against Lancashire at Old Trafford, take on Derbyshire Phantoms in a floodlit match at Derby.

The Phantoms beat the West Indies by 51 runs in a Twenty20 match yesterday and will provide another formidable test for Durham.

Onions, tipped to be the next player off the Durham conveyor belt to play for England, was left out of the Dynamos Friends Provident Trophy semi-final side against Essex last week.

The 24-year-old was also a notable absentee at Old Trafford on Friday, but, with Plunkett called up for the England one-day squad, he is recalled at Derby tonight.

Durham captain Dale Benkenstein said: “Onions has had a season where he has probably not been at his best and we have a job to pick our best players.

“We do play him as much as possible in one-day cricket but when we have our full squad available he battles to play because he does just one thing – bowl.”

Onions scored 31 in the two run Twenty20 Cup defeat against Derbyshire last year and took four wickets in the four group games he featured in.

With Steve Harmison not considered for selection until this week’s two home games, Durham are likely to make only one change to the side that lost at Lancashire by six wickets.

Durham coach Geoff Cook said: “It’s a big game tonight for both sides as neither will want to open with two defeats.

“We would have liked one of the openers to have made a bigger score at Old Trafford and we got bogged down against the spinners.

“But Gordon Muchall and Garry Park put together a good partnership and got us to a decent score of 149, but you can’t legislate for the likes of Mal Loye.

“He got out cheaply the next night at Trent Bridge playing the same shot that was so productive against us, but that’s what can happen in Twenty20 cricket.

“We have a plan on how we want to play and hopefully we’ll be able to execute that at Derby and get the win we’re looking for.”

The Phantoms are likely to include former Durham players Simon Katich and Ian Hunter along with new signing Michael Dighton.

The Australian batsman hit a sparkling 111 off just 56 balls for Tasmania in a Twenty20 Cup game in January and scored 27 on his debut against the Windies yesterday.

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