Yorkshire have done some excellent work in this season’s Vitality Blast. Now it is time to capitalise on that, says captain David Willey.
The Vikings finished second in the North Group table, qualifying for the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016.
Tomorrow, at Durham’s Emirates Riverside (6.30pm), they will take on Sussex Sharks in their last eight tie for the right to advance to only their third Finals Day appearance. Sussex finished third in the South with six wins from 14.
“We’re still a fairly inexperienced group in terms of T20 cricket,” said England all-rounder Willey, who has been dealt a blow with the news of Lockie Ferguson’s omission having tested positive for Coronavirus.
“The group stage was about learning, whether we won or lost.
“In doing that, we have grown together as a group and have given ourselves a chance of playing our best cricket at the back end of the tournament.
“As you see from different teams over the years, it’s just about getting through the group and then bringing your A-game in the knockouts.”
Yorkshire won seven of their 13 games in the North Group – the last one at Chesterfield was cancelled as a result of a Coronavirus outbreak in the Derbyshire camp – and finished behind champions Nottinghamshire.
Their campaign has not been without challenges.
Only one of those wins came away from Emerald Headingley, where they can’t play this quarter-final because of a clash of dates with the England v India Test Match.
And Willey was one of three captains used alongside Joe Root and Adam Lyth because of international unavailability.
“We spoke about wanting to have consistency in selection and the way we’ve wanted to play,” he said. “But we’ve probably used 20 players and had three captains.
“It’s been brilliant the way the lads have still stuck at the blueprint of how we want to play. When lads have gone out, we’ve tried to replace them and stick to the same roles as much as possible. And that’s helped us.”
Yorkshire have actually used 21 players in this season’s Blast. Surrey used the same number of players, with only Kent using more. Their total of 25 owed to a Coronavirus outbreak. Kent have also qualified for the quarter-finals, but Surrey have not.
While New Zealand overseas fast bowler Ferguson’s involvement in Yorkshire’s pursuit of Blast glory has now ended, Sussex will have Afghanistan overseas leg-spinner Rashid Khan available.
However, the Vikings can call upon the services of England’s Adil Rashid.
Sussex could include five players who have just won the Hundred with the Southern Brave in George Garton, Chris Jordan, Archie Lenham, Tymal Mills and Delray Rawlins.
Garton, Jordan and Mills played in Saturday’s final win over Birmingham Phoenix at Lord’s.
“Sussex are a dangerous side with some brilliant players. Chris Jordan, for one. It’s going to be a tough game,” added Willey.
One of Yorkshire’s returning players from the Hundred is opening batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who will play his first county game since June 20 following a broken finger.
The recently turned 27-year-old played four times in the Hundred for the Northern Superchargers, with his final appearance last week against Birmingham Phoenix at Headingley yielding a season’s best score of 71 in all cricket.
“It just started to get going in the white ball stuff, and then I broke my finger,” he said. “It’s been a stop-start season. But all I can do is look forward.
“I haven’t had the runs I’d like. But if I can finish strong and we win the Championship or the T20, it will be one of those things where you put down the selfishness around individual performances. You want to be winning trophies.
“We’ve done well to finish second in the group, so it’s about building on the momentum. Winning at Finals Day would be lovely.
“Sussex are a brilliant side, and we’re going to have to bring our best game to beat them. If you look down their line-up, they’ve got stars. But so have we. Hopefully we can put a show on.”
And, regarding playing the game at Durham instead of Headingley, Kohler-Cadmore added: “You’d like to be at home, but Durham is a great place for us to go. Our record up there is good.
“Plus it’s an extra two hours on the trip for them. It will be a long old bus journey!
“But it’s just about making sure we do all our basics right. If we do that, we’ll stand a good chance of going through.”