Yorkshire are remaining upbeat as their Friends Life t20 campaign reaches a critical point.
The Vikings are drinking in the North Division’s last chance saloon after losing their third match of five against Durham at Emirates Durham on Friday, but they have the chance to respond almost immediately.
Azeem Rafiq takes his side to Chesterfield tomorrow for a must win clash against Derbyshire.
The Falcons are right in the mix for qualification having won their first three, although they have faltered by losing their last two. They currently sit third in the group with six points – just a point behind Lancashire with a game in hand. Yorkshire are bottom of the group with three points from five.
Gary Ballance was Yorkshire’s standout performer against Durham on Friday, scoring 68 off 39 balls in their pursuit of a mammoth 216.
“It was disappointing to lose, but we still have five games to go. With Notts losing (against Leicestershire), the group’s wide open,” said the explosive left-hander, who also played with plenty of finesse against the Dynamos.
“But, as you say, we can’t really afford to lose many more. We’re definitely going to have to win four out of five, but probably five out of five to give ourselves a chance.”
Ballance started his career at Derbyshire, but did not make his first-team debut for them. His uncle Dave Houghton is still on their coaching staff.
In five innings Twenty20 against his former county dating back to 2010, he has scored 48 not out, 46, 47 not out, 1 and 44 in the most recent contest at Headingley last month, which Derbyshire won by a whisker.
“It’s a nice ground at Chesterfield, and I always like playing against Derbyshire. Hopefully we can get a win there and get back on a roll,” he continued.
“They have started well, and had a good win against us first time when they beat us in a close game. They’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Ballance’s 68 off 39 balls against Durham proved to be the 23-year-old’s fifth Twenty20 fifty and his career best. It included seven fours and three sixes.
“Chasing 216, you’ve got to go hard from ball one,” he added. “It was nice to get a few out of the middle, but I was disappointed to get out. When you’re chasing that kind of score, you’ve got to have two or three guys who go big.”
This will be the third Twenty20 match played between Derbyshire and Yorkshire at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield. Yorkshire won the previous two in 2008 and 2009, with the likes of Anthony McGrath, Andrew Gale, Deon Kruis and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan all starring.
Tickets are available on the gate at Queen’s Park priced at £16 adults, £5 juniors and £5 car parking.
Yorkshire Vikings 13-man squad to face Derbyshire Falcons, at Queen’s Paark (2.30pm start).
If you can’t make it to any of the Friends Life T20 games you can hear ball-by-ball commentary on Yorkshire Radio – Official Media Partner of YCCC with summary from former Yorkshire Captain Anthony McGrath.
You can listen to Yorkshire Radio on DAB across Yorkshire, Sky Channel 0209, on-line atwww.yorkshireradio.netand on free apps for iphone and android smart phones. Plus don’t miss hearing from the squad and management every Monday at 6pm on The Yorkshire Radio Cricket Show.