Dawid Malan is not getting too carried away with Yorkshire’s impressive start to this season’s Vitality Blast, but the former champion admits the early signs are certainly encouraging.

A Blast winner in 2008, with Middlesex, opening batter Malan has helped Yorkshire start this campaign with three wins from their opening four North Group fixtures.

It has raised hopes of quarter-final qualification for what would be the third time in five years since Malan’s move to Headingley from Lord’s ahead of 2020, a run which included qualification for Finals Day back in 2022. 

Malan scored a superb unbeaten 79 to help the Vikings beat Derbyshire Falcons at Headingley on Sunday afternoon, a nine-wicket win chasing a 180-target.

Yorkshire are next in action at Edgbaston on Friday night (7.05pm), against a Birmingham Bears side who have lost their last two matches. But the Bears are “a fantastic side”, believes Malan – a view backed up by statistics. They have finished top of the North Group in each of the last two summers.

Ahead of the trip to Birmingham, left-handed Malan, 36, has also been speaking about his transition to playing only T20 cricket for the county and how he has managed his preparations for this Blast campaign.


Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. Dawid Malan is encouraged by Yorkshire’s start to this season’s Blast. 

First of all, though, he spoke about Yorkshire’s good start, with wins against Worcestershire, Northamptonshire and Derbyshire added to defeat against Leicestershire.

“It’s nice to have three wins out of four. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going,” said the England man.

“We’ve got a lot of injuries at the moment, especially on the bowling side of things. So I feel like we’re doing really well.

“To see guys step up the way they have has been fantastic. 

“Look at the start Derbyshire made on Sunday. They were whacking it in the first six, seven or eight overs (114-0 after 10 overs). But I thought the boys handled that really well and came back to keep them to a total we could chase.”

Yorkshire will tackle two games this weekend. After their trip to Birmingham, it’s the return clash with Leicestershire, at Headingley on Sunday at 3pm. That’s part of a T20 double header with the Northern Diamonds women.

Donovan Ferreira

Picture by David Rogers/Getty Images. Donovan Ferreira is set to return after missing Derbyshire to attend a family wedding. 

“Birmingham are always a fantastic team and Leicestershire are really good in this format as well,” continued Malan. “They gave us a hiding down at their place two weeks ago.

“Hopefully a good weekend and we’ll be on track to make the quarter-finals.”

Then, insists the player who is 847 runs away from 10,000 in his T20 career, the hard work starts.

“You can win all 14 group games and still not get to Finals Day,” he said. “To win T20 tournaments, you have to peak at the right time.

“You obviously have to qualify first and foremost. That’s the aim when you start. Then, it’s about playing good cricket when it matters. At the important times in some of the previous years, we haven’t really done that.

“But, hopefully, we can build and learn from what happened last year and the year before. We’ve had two different experiences there, qualifying for Finals Day and then missing out altogether. 


Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com. Dawid Malan on the drive versus Derbyshire. 

“We need to qualify first, hopefully get a home quarter-final, and build on the good things we’ll have done to get us there.”

For the last couple of years, Malan has formed a potent opening partnership with history man Adam Lyth, who on Sunday became the first player to score 4,000 T20 runs for Yorkshire.

“There aren’t many guys who stay at one county anymore,” praised Malan.

“So for Lythy to do that, it’s amazing for him. He’s a very, very good player and has been a great servant for Yorkshire Cricket. Hopefully he can keep breaking records for Yorkshire.”

Lyth hit 84 off 51 balls against the Falcons.

“I felt a bit rusty in the couple of games before Sunday,” continued Malan. “To come in and find a bit of rhythm was nice. 

Lyth and Malan

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com. Dawid Malan has praised his opening Adam Lyth. 

“Lythy took pressure off me early and took the attack on. That helped me to just play my game, which is to be there at the end to win games of cricket. 

“I was pleased that I was there at the end because I’m more happy winning games of cricket than I am with the statistics. That’s what I pride myself on.”

And has that early rust been partly due to the fact that, leading into the start of the Blast, Malan had only batted twice in a match scenario – in Yorkshire’s second-team – since March 5 and the end of the Pakistan Super League, where he played for Peshawar Zalmi?

“It was, yeah, because I’m so used to playing,” he added. 

“You can do all the training you want, but the weather we’ve had has been so bad that I’ve not been able to get outdoors much. 

“I’ve been sat in the Indoor School a lot, and the way the second-team schedule has worked, they’ve only had one day of T20 cricket, which was two games 10 days before the first game.

Dom Bess

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. Dom Bess will hope to continue an excellent start to this season’s Blast. He has taken six wickets so far. 

“It’s been weird trying to find cricket.

“I guess I’ll have to look at that next year and see how I can find cricket more regularly moving on to it.

“It’s been a challenge so far and something I’m not overly used to. But now that I’ve started playing, I feel like I’m getting back into the rhythm of it. 

“The last two training sessions I had before the Derby game, I felt like I was moving better and hitting the ball better. I was able to watch the ball instead of fighting with my technique and so on. Luckily it all clicked into place.”

Birmingham have won two and lost two so far. Captained by wicketkeeper-opener Alex Davies and coached by ex-Yorkshire seamer Mark Robinson, they have Pakistani fast bowlers Hassan Ali and Aamir Jamal at their disposal.

England bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes is edging towards a first first-team appearance of 2024 having taken a break from the game following the death of his father. Woakes played second-team cricket for the Bears earlier this week.

Shan Masood

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. Captain Shan Masood will be bidding for a fourth Blast win of the season. 

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