Durham determined to reach finals day
Durham coach Geoff Cook is backing his side to bounce back tonight following Friday’s demoralising Friends Provident Trophy semi-final defeat against Kent.
The players were understandably low in the aftermath of the 83-run defeat against the Spitfires, but now face Yorkshire in a crucial Twenty20 Cup quarter-final at the Riverside.
The Dynamos may have missed the opportunity of returning to Lord’s for the showpiece FPT final, but victory tonight will be some compensation.
A return to winning ways will see Durham take part in the Twenty20 finals day, this year at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, for the first time in their history.
Durham had been the only county not to have reached the knockout stage and, having got that monkey off their back, they now aim to go all the way.
Coach Geoff Cook said: “After the disappointment of losing to Kent we’re fortunate to have the Twenty20 quarter-final to look forward to.
“It’s going to be another great occasion for the club and for the players to put themselves forward, as they’ve still got an awful lot to play for.
“We’ve got to bounce back from a defeat and make sure we get over the disappointment of missing out on a Lord’s final.
“We did very well to get as far as we did in the Friends Provident Trophy. Losing in the semi-final is no disgrace and there’s still some pretty good players in the dressing room.
“We have to refocus and make sure the perspective is there to ensure we go forward, because tonight’s game is a very important one.
“It was good to see the players were so disappointed after the game on Friday when they should have been proud to have reached the semi-final.”
Yorkshire also enter tonight’s game on a low after they also lost heavily – by 87 runs – against Essex in the other FPT semi-final.
The Tykes were outplayed with bat and ball and, like Durham, tonight’s game has added significance. as neither club will want to miss out on two finals inside four days.
The Tykes’ setback at Chelmsford followed Durham’s defeat against Kent, but Cook doesn’t believe the extra day’s preparation will be a major factor.
“I don’t know whether that’s an advantage or not,” said Cook.
“I’m not particularly bothered what Yorkshire do, it’s about how we perform on the night.”
Durham have added in-form Australian seamer Callum Thorp, surprisingly left out of the FPT semi-final against Kent, and Garry Park to their squad for tonight’s showdown.
Ben Harmison is set to replace unavailable England all-rounder Paul Collingwood, while one-day specialist Neil Killeen will also not feature.
Yorkshire have 30-year-old overseas bowler Rana Naved available after he made his comeback following six weeks on the sidelines.
With England internationals Darren Gough and Mathew Hoggard, along with Tim Bresnan, Richard Pyrah and highly-rated spinner Adil Rashid, the Tykes have a strong attack.
England captain Michael Vaughan, however, is a notable absentee for the visitors.