Test Match Sofa
Sharks stronger than my 2009 winners: Yardy
By Bruce Talbot
Mike Yardy bows out as Sussex captain at Friends Life t20 Finals Day on Saturday adamant that this year’s squad is better than the one he led to victory in 2009.
The Sharks have only lost once in the shortest format this season and that was a rain-ruined game with Surrey effectively settled by a generous Duckworth-Lewis calculation in their opponents’ favour.
On four occasions Sussex have blasted more than 200 runs and with Scott Styris, who scored a 39-ball hundred in the quarter-final win over Gloucestershire, and Matt Prior both available in Cardiff, Yardy will once again have plenty of firepower at his disposal in the semi-final against Yorkshire.
“I think it’s quite hard to make comparisons between the two teams because the pitches we played on at Hove back then were slow and low and average scores were around 130-140,” said Yardy.
“We had a bowling attack that suited that and to an extent we still do. Today we are a bit more reliant on certain individuals batting-wise but on paper I would say this team is slightly stronger.”
Yardy stepped down as County Championship and one-day captain last month but would love to sign off from t20 by guiding Sussex to the Champions League in South Africa in October – the prize for both finalists.
Sussex competed in the inaugural event in 2009 in India and although they were knocked out in the group stages in Delhi the competition left an indelible impression on the squad, according to opening batsman Chris Nash.
“We are actually seeing the rewards from that this season,” he said. “The power-hitting we have shown is the product of months of hard work in the nets developing the techniques we learnt from the Champions League three years ago.”
It’s a crucial weekend in Sussex’s season. On Monday they go to Canterbury where victory over Kent Spitfires would guarantee a home draw in the semi-finals of the Clydesdale Bank 40.
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