JASON GILLESPIE believes that if Yorkshire are serious about winning the NatWest T20 Blast they must prove it tonight by beating Durham.
The Yorkshire first-team coach said it is the type of match they need to win if they are to go all the way in this year’s tournament.
Yorkshire have a wretched T20 record, having only once reached Finals Day, in Gillespie’s first season in charge, and the former Australia fast bowler is challenging them to lay down a marker at Chester-le-Street (7pm start).
“If we are serious about what we want to achieve this year, we have to go up to Chester-le-Street and win,” said Gillespie.
“It should be a cracking game – possibly the game of the weekend.
“I’m excited for the players and for our fans because this group of players are very determined to perform.
“We’re hoping for a nice, big crowd up there at Durham under their new lights, and it should be a fantastic atmosphere.”
Yorkshire have made a fine start to their T20 campaign, winning their first two matches at home to Derbyshire and away to Nottinghamshire.
Gillespie believes the performance at Trent Bridge – traditionally an unhappy hunting ground for Yorkshire in T20 – was a statement of intent as they chased down 144 with seven balls to spare.
“The way we applied ourselves in every aspect of our game really pleased me,” he said.
“We dominated throughout and took a stranglehold right from the outset; Notts couldn’t get going.
“I’ve talked at length about how we want to play positive and aggressive cricket this campaign, and this came to the fore at Trent Bridge.
“Our run chase was perfect and we bossed it.”
Although delighted with that victory, Gillespie does not want his side to get carried away and is challenging them to improve as they make their way through the group stages. With 14 matches before the knockout phase, he said they cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
“You can’t ever be satisfied; that’s what we’re trying to get across to the lads, to be as hungry as possible,” said Gillespie,
“With our batting, if we can’t hit a boundary, then it’s how do we get down to the other end?
“In the field, we shouldn’t be afraid to throw the stumps down in any situation.
“And, with our bowling, we just have to be ruthless.”
Leicestershire made it consecutive wins in the North Division after recording a dominant eight-wicket victory over Durham at Grace Road.
The home side limited Durham to 123-5 and then reaching their victory target with 27 balls to spare.
Middlesex thrashed Kent Spitfires by 115 runs in the South Division.
Yorkshire (from): Gale (captain), Hodd, Lees, Bairstow, Maxwell, Leaning, Rashid, Pyrah, Bresnan, Brooks, Fisher, Rhodes.