Joe Root is urging Yorkshire to aim high as they bid for Vitality Blast success this summer. 

The Vikings beat Lancashire Lightning at Headingley last night to seal a fourth win in seven games. At the halfway stage in the North Group, they sit fourth in the table on eight points. Holding onto that position after 14 games would seal quarter-final qualification.

It is often said that seven wins would give any team a good chance of knockout qualification. 

But Root, who plays his final game at Durham this evening before international duty, wants more. 

Ahead of tonight’s trip to Seat Unique Riverside to face Durham, starting at 6.30pm, the England legend said: “I don’t think you want to be looking at seven wins, I think you want to be looking at nine wins really – set a higher ceiling and if you miss it, you still have a really good chance of qualifying. 

“Hopefully, we can do that. 

“But, clearly, there are some good teams out there, very good especially on their own grounds. We’ve got to nick a few wins away from home and keep playing some good stuff at Headingley. 

Joe Root

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Joe Root and Dawid Malan celebrate last night’s Roses win.

“The most important thing is that we’ve got games in the bank now. If you’re having to chase it at the back end, it can be very difficult. If we can get one more win (at Durham), it sets things up really nicely for the second half of the tournament.”

Root contributed 43 with the bat last night as Yorkshire made 173-8 on a pitch which gripped. He then struck once with the ball to limit North Group leaders Lancashire to 166-8.

Bowling his off-spin, Root was one of four spinners used by the Vikings alongside Dom Bess, Dan Moriarty and Jafer Chohan. Each of the quartet picked up at least one wicket. 

Off-spinner Bess was the pick with 2-26 from four overs, Root only bowled one over, left-armer Moriarty returned 1-25 from four and leg-spinner Chohan 1-26.

Putting sides in a spin is proving a really potent weapon for Yorkshire in this campaign. 

“You have got to play to your strengths,” said Root. 

“We’ve got two very good, experienced spinners in Mozza and Bessy, and Jafer is just improving all the time. You saw he took a crucial wicket, and he’s only going to get better and better the more opportunities he gets. 

Dom Bess

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ The excellent Dom Bess celebrates a wicket with Conor McKerr last night.

“It’s nice when you have a ground with one long side, or there’s a bit of wind or the wicket’s turning a bit because there’s not as much pressure on the seamers to bowl their quota.

“It could be important up there. You don’t know what you’re getting at Durham. 

“I’ve played on some really good wickets there and some tired ones as well. 

“We’ll see, but T20 is all about adapting to what’s in front of you with conditions. The teams who manage that the best are the ones who come out on top.”

Root was actually the one who first alerted Yorkshire to Chohan’s talents.

He faced the Loughborough University student in a net session at the ECB’s High Performance Centre on that Uni campus and liked what he saw

“To bowl four overs under 30 is massive,” added Root. 

Jafer Chohan

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Jafer Chohan completes the caught and bowled dismissal of George Lavelle.

“Jafer’s a really strong option for us, and hopefully he’ll gain a huge amount of confidence from what he’s done so far this year (six wickets in as many Blast games, including three wickets in his last two). 

“He can keep getting better and learning from every experience.”

While Yorkshire are fourth on eight points, Durham are sixth on seven points having won three, lost three added to a No Result. A win tonight would take them above the Vikings.

Captained by former Yorkshire opening batter Alex Lees, opening partner Graham Clark is their leading run-scorer in this season’s Blast with 209 and seamer Ben Raine is their leading wicket-taker with 10.

They have three overseas players to choose from in Australian all-rounder Ashton Turner and compatriot seamer Ben Dwarshuis added to South African batter David Bedingham.

It’s likely Yorkshire will line up against Bedingham and Turner this evening. 

Durham beat Lancashire at home last time out, on Sunday, by two runs defending 219.

Dan Moriarty

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Dan Moriarty is central to Yorkshire’s trial by spin.

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