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Yorkshire look to reach Twenty20 Finals Day
Yorkshire are on the verge of breaking their Twenty20 hoodoo.
Tonight’s Friends Life t20 quarter-final against Worcestershire at Headingley hands the White Rose the opportunity to reach Finals Day for the first time.
It has taken Yorkshire ten years to finally crack cricket’s shortest form, winning seven of ten North Division matches to set up this knockout tie with a county who have also never gone beyond the last eight.
They are hot favourites to beat the Pears, whose dangermen are Australian Phil Hughes and all-rounders Moeen Ali and Gareth Andrew.
And batsman Joe Root, one of the stars of Yorkshire’s campaign, believes they have built a platform to succeed in Twenty20 for years to come.
“Twenty20 can change so quickly,” said the county’s number three, who is in England’s provisional 30-man squad for September’s World Twenty20.
“An innings of ten balls can change a game, so I don’t think we’ll be taking this match for granted.
“There is definitely an element of luck in Twenty20 because the shorter the game, the quicker it can change. But we’re just winning the key parts of games at the moment. If we continue to do that, we’ll not go far wrong.
“That’s not to say there’s not a huge amount of skill involved in Twenty20, because there is.
“The top-ranked sides like Somerset and Sussex are generally around Finals Day, and it’s no coincidence that they’re always there.
“That’s what we’re striving to do now that we’ve got a really good platform. If we continue to keep playing the way we are, we’ll really compete in this competition for a long time.”
Although 21-year-old Root has not piled up runs, scores of 36, 41 and 27 in a haul of 158 from nine matches have been crucial in building on positive starts to an innings.
His improvement as a t20 player has happened at a rate of knots following a winter away with the England Lions.
“I spent the winter in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and it was all based around one-day cricket,” he added, having looked particularly impressive when sweeping the ball.
“I think it’s improved my game massively. It’s helped to give me more options to score and my strike-rate’s improving in this format.
“I’ve always swept because I’ve not really been able to clear the men on the fence like somebody like Jonny Bairstow can.
“Even if he mis-hits it, he knows that he’s still got a chance of getting six.
“For me, I’ve got to absolutely nail it to get it right. I’m starting to develop that side of my game. Hopefully I can bring both together in the near future.”
Yorks squad: Gale (capt), Ashraf, Bairstow, Ballance, Jaques, Lyth, Miller, Patterson, Pyrah, Rafiq, Rashid, Root, Starc, Wardlaw.