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Match preview: Vikings v Bears

— 17 July 2014

Jason Gillespie is backing compatriot Aaron Finch to put a recent run of low scores behind him and help Yorkshire confirm their place in the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals in the final two North Division matches, starting tomorrow against Birmingham Bears at Headingley.

  • Australian master blaster Finch, rated as the world’s number one T20 player, sent Lancashire packing at Emirates Old Trafford with a blistering 88 off 55 balls, including two unforgettable sixes which rocked the foundations of The Point conference and banqueting facility.

    But, unfortunately, he has only managed another 66 runs from seven innings, including scores of nought and ten in his last two matches against Durham at Emirates Durham last Friday night and Derbyshire at Chesterfield last Sunday afternoon.

    Thankfully, his team-mates have managed to rally around him and score the runs which have taken the Vikings into the upper echelons of the North Division.

    In the two most recent matches, for example, Jonny Bairstow hit a brilliant 102 against Durham and Alex Lees hit an unbeaten 67 against Derbyshire.

    Yorkshire head into tomorrow’s clash with the Bears knowing that one more win will secure them a quarter-final place for the fourth time in 12 years and the first time since 2012 when they went on to reach the final and qualify for the Champions League in South Africa as a result.

  • “Aaron’s been out three times off the back of his bat, maybe through the slowness of the wickets, which could have caught him by surprise a bit. He’s very aware of it,” said Gillespie, who has seen Finch return some excellent statistics from the middle order in LV= County Championship cricket during the last six weeks.

    “When he looks to play down the ground, that’s when he’s at his most dangerous. He’s a class act, and he’s working incredibly hard.

    “He’s had a match-winning knock for us already in T20, and I’m sure there will be some more before he leaves us. Hopefully he can score some big runs at the right time.”

    Yorkshire go in search of their seventh win from their 13th match, their penultimate North Division fixture against a Bears side who remain in quarter-final contention themselves having won five from 12.

    They beat local rivals Worcestershire by five wickets in pursuit of 176 at Edgbaston last time out, and currently sit fifth in the North Division, two points off fourth place and a last eight spot.

  • Yorkshire have named an unchanged squad for the match against Birmingham Bears.

    Yorkshire Squad

    Bairstow, Bresnan, Brooks, Finch, Gale, Leaning, Lees, Lyth, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Robinson, Sidebottom, Williamson.

    Birmingham Squad

    Ambrose, Best, Chopra, Clarke, Coleman, Evans, Gordon, Hannon-Dalby, Javid, Patel, Porterfield, Rankin, Webb.

    Tickets for the match will be available on the day via the turnstiles at Kirkstall Lane and St Michael’s Lane. Prices are £22 adult and £15 concessions.

    Alternatively, book online before 11.59pm on Thursday night and get your tickets at a cheaper rate.