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It’s time we made a mark in Twenty20, says Mitchell
WITH this season’s Friends Provident t20 looming, Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell insists it’s time the club gave their fans something to cheer about in the shortest format of the game.
Traditionally, the New Road outfit have struggled in 20-over cricket, but steady improvements have been made in recent years, which have resulted in the side only narrowly missing out on qualification for the quarter-finals last term.
Mitchell has run the rule over his side’s opponents this season and is confident Worcestershire can reach the knock-out stages and possibly even go all the way to title glory.
He said: “Somerset are the stand-out side in our group as they have been successful in t20 in recent years and I guess they’ll be the biggest threat.
“Out of the other teams we play, we beat both Northamptonshire and Warwickshire twice last year, while Glamorgan and Gloucestershire are not the strongest t20 teams, so I fancy our chances of getting through the group if we play well.
“First things first, our primary target is to get through to the quarter-finals and once you’re there, you are in the last eight and have a chance of going all the way.
“We were on the right track last year and we made big strides, but only just missed out on qualification for finals day – hopefully we can go one better this year and qualify.
“The competition has been regionalised again this year which is a good thing as there are several local derbies with Warwickshire and Gloucestershire. We have five home games and hopefully we can pack out New Road. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Despite the disappointment of Saeed Ajmal having to pull out of his Worcestershire contract due to unforeseen international commitments with Pakistan, Mitchell is still happy with the line-up he has at his disposal.
He added: “We have strengthened the top of the order with the signing of Phil Hughes, while Sohail Tanvir will obviously add a bit of ball-striking down the order.
“Hopefully, he will also claim a couple of wickets with the new ball as well as bowling well at the death. He’s not exactly the same as Saeed, obviously, but Sohail will also bowl at the death for us like Saeed did very well for us.
“He’s done well in the Bangladesh Premier League as well as in the Pakistan t20 side – he’s a very able 20-over cricketer.
“Gareth Andrew is also back fit again and he is particularly vital to us in Twenty20 cricket as he is one guy who can really clear the ropes down the order, which is important in run-chases, while his bowling and fielding are big bonuses for us too.
“We won’t be playing too differently to last year and if we can build on that by just one per cent in all areas, we’ll have a good chance of qualifying.”