In-form Phil is out for revenge
In-form wicket-keeper and batsman Phil Mustard is ready for a revenge mission against Lancashire Lightning tonight in the Twenty20 Cup following Durham's excellent win over the holders Leicestershire Foxes.
Durham Dynamos maintained their interest in the competition with a comfortable win over the reigning champions on Wednesday night, but they need to follow that up with another victory over Lancashire Lightning at the Riverside this evening.
The Dynamos slipped to a disappointing defeat at Old Trafford last week in their opening Twenty20 Cup group game, but the rain- affected draw against Derbyshire and the win over the Foxes, who are arguably the strongest side in the competition, has understandably put the Durham camp in a buoyant mood.
And it is the excellent batting form of Mustard which has helped fuel the belief that, after four dreadful Twenty20 campaigns, Durham can finally enjoy some success in English cricket's newest innovation.
"It was a great win over Leicestershire and it sets us up nicely for the arrival of Lancashire on Friday," said Mustard, whose unbeaten 52, which included three huge sixes, proved to be the difference between the two sides.
"It should be a great game against Lancashire because we lost at Old Trafford last week and we really need to get our revenge on our home ground.
"They are a strong side and we've already had some good battles with them this season and in pre-season, but we've shown we're in form and that we have got better at playing Twenty20 cricket.
"We struggled a bit with the ball early on against Leicestershire, but we pulled it back really well. It wasn't easy in the field because it was wet, but we stuck to it and we got our rewards.
"Leicestershire have an excellent record in this competition and we have to be confident now that we have beaten them."
On paper, Durham have an excellent limited over side and, having already reached the final of the Friends Provident Trophy, Mustard hopes they can match that success in the Twenty20 Cup.
He said: "I've not had the best of times in this competition in the past which is strange because it should suit my style of batting, but I feel as though I'm in good form at the moment. I got off to a shaky start but then got into the groove and clicked. To go to my 50 with two consecutive sixes and win the game at the same time was very pleasing.
"It was also a chance-less innings which is something I'm very happy about. Hopefully I can carry that form into the Lancashire game. This form of cricket really should suit my game and I'm looking to have a good campaign this time."
Durham captain Dale Benkenstein was also thrilled with the victory on Wednesday night as he praised the contributions of the bowlers, as well as match-winner Mustard. He said: "It was a very professional performance against a proven Twenty20 side and I thought The Colonel batted very well. He has the ideal game for this type of cricket and he is in good form at the moment.
"But he was not the only one who played their part. The bowlers were very tight, especially the two spinners and, while Steve Harmison can go anywhere, he took two crucial wickets and it was good to have him in the side. I also thought Neil Killeen was outstanding and we frustrated their batsman.
"To beat a side like Leicestershire is a big confidence boost as it proves we can do it against the best sides out there. But we have to make sure we take that same sort of performance into the game against Lancashire."
Durham dynamos: Dale Benkenstein, (Capt), Gareth Breese, Michael DiVenuto, Ottis Gibson, Stephen Harmison, Neil Killeen, Gordon Muchall, Phil Mustard, Graham Onions, Garry Park, Will Smith, Scott Styris, Paul Wiseman.