Test Match Sofa
Gale hails Yorkshire's t20 approach
By Graham Hardcastle
As Yorkshire celebrated the prospect of their debut appearance at Finals Day next month, skipper Andrew Gale last night hailed his team’s fearless approach to this season’s Friends Life t20 campaign.
A 29-run success in Wednesday’s quarter-final against Worcestershire at Headingley has set up a semi-final tie with Sussex at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium.
The win was underpinned by a man-of-the-match display from Joe Root with a career best 65 and then a hand in an excellent piece of improvisation on the long-on fence to get rid of James Cameron caught by team-mate David Miller.
Yorkshire have only made it through to the quarter-finals on three previous occasions, losing twice to Sussex and being thrown out of the competition after fielding an ineligible player during the group stages in 2008.
Ironically, that player was off-spinning all-rounder Azeem Rafiq, who is now a key figure in their side. Rafiq, aged 21, has even captained the county in this season’s FLt20, overseeing six of eight successive wins in completed fixtures.
“We’ve played with a fearless attitude this year,” said Gale, who has missed all but four matches in the competition due to a hip injury. “We lost an early wicket, but it didn’t stop me and Rooty playing our shots. In the past we might have gone into our shells, and throughout the middle overs we played with intent.
“Everyone has been clear with their game plans, everyone has had a role, and the young players have started to establish themselves. If you look down, the hitters just keep coming. The bowlers also know exactly what their role is.
“As a t20 side it is right up there as the best we’ve had just because of the strength in depth we’ve got in all departments. We’ve got Ryan Sidebottom on the sidelines, and I was out for the majority of the tournament as well. The lads that have come in have done exceptionally well.”
Yorkshire’s only issue ahead of Finals Day is that they will be without star bowler Mitchell Starc, the left-armer who will be with Australia’s one-day squad in the UAE on August 25.
Starc took three wickets against the Pears in what was almost certainly his last appearance for the county, taking his competition tally to 21 wickets at 10.38 with an economy rate of 5.91 runs per over. He is the leading t20 wicket-taker in the country.
“He nails his yorkers, he bowls at 90mph, he’s everything a captain wants to bring on in the last few overs,” said Gale. “He’s been exceptional throughout the competition. We’re going to beg Cricket Australia as much as we can and keep knocking on that door. But I can’t really see him coming back for Finals Day.
“He’s been a big performer, but hopefully we will have Sidebottom back. We also don’t know what Tim Bresnan’s situation will be like with England.”
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