By Matthew Fisher

The confidence we have gained from winning some really tight games recently should, hopefully, stand us in good stead as the Royal London One-Day Cup heads into the knockout rounds.

We had the Derby game that we won with the bat, then the Lancashire game we won with the ball. Against Northants on Thursday, the batters did the job again to get us over the line. So we’re very happy with how things are going.

It’s going to be tough against Essex at Chelmsford on Thursday afternoon, and some of us have got to step up now the England one-day lads have gone as well as Cheteshwar Pujara. But we will go down there in high spirits.

We can’t feel sorry for ourselves with the availability because, if you do, the game will go, you’ll lose it and will have regrets.

I’ve always wanted to be a part of a winning team and to contribute a lot in all formats. But, with the players going away, I see a real opportunity for me to try and stamp my name on a game and a competition when the pressure is on. That’s what I’ll be trying to do.

I feel if I can contribute with bat and ball in these big games, they’ll set me in good stead for the rest of my career.

For me, it’s about competing and being the best you can be. So reaching the quarter-finals is just half the job. We have three more games to win.

I have really enjoyed opening the bowling in this competition. It’s something I’ve always done. When I played a lot of one-day cricket for the England under 19s a few years ago, I opened the bowling. And it’s a good time to bowl. That’s the time to get your wickets. It swings for a couple of overs and then stops, so I feel I’m much more effective with the new ball.

In two games out of four that I’ve opened, we’ve had them three down inside 10 overs. Hopefully that continues.

We were all pretty calm and composed in the dressing room on Thursday chasing 242, despite being 130-5, and that seemed to rub off on the guys going out there into the middle. That probably came from previous experiences of us winning those tight games.

We didn’t really chat about chasing down the target in 41 overs to try and get a home tie because we just wanted to win the game. Had we gone after it, we could have lost and been knocked out all together.

I was absolutely delighted for the two lads who got fifties at the end, Gary Ballance and Jonny Tattersall.

Gaz is a player I really look up to. He comes in day in and day out and works his backside off.

I love watching the best players and how they go about their practice, and Gaz is so specific with what he works on. He’s always last in the nets, and every single ball he’s trying to make himself better.

To have a leader like that, it brings us all to that level. I’m so happy for him after his difficult few weeks.

Jonny is one of the nicest blokes you will meet. He’s so down to earth and the definition of a cricket badger.

Playing for Yorkshire is such a massive thing for him.

He knew he was good enough, but he just needed that performance to rubber stamp it. This will give him the confidence to push on in all formats.

We’ve struck a gem with him, especially with his keeping.

I knew he kept when he was younger and then stopped. But Andrew Gale is obviously looking for a keeper after Andrew Hodd finishes, and it’s quite a proactive move.

He’ll only get better at keeping because he learns so fast. I was always confident he’d be fine because he’s such a good fielder – a good mover and catcher.

Even in our Championship team, him keeping and batting at seven could add a lot. He opens in the second team and could in the first as well. But he’d be such a good number seven.

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