Hopes for Finals Day appearance remain high for in-form Yorkshire

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YORKSHIRE will have one foot in the Twenty20 Cup quarter-finals if they beat defending champions Leicestershire at Grace Road tonight (5.40pm).

Victory would be Yorkshire’s fourth in six group games and probably leave them needing to win only two of their last four matches in order to reach the last eight.

It would also complete the double over a Leicestershire side they defeated by 22 runs at Headingley Carnegie earlier this month.

Yorkshire were much too strong for Matthew Hoggard’s men on that occasion and they have played some of their best cricket this summer in the Twenty20 tournament.

A win tonight would also send Yorkshire top of the North Group, with current leaders Nottinghamshire not scheduled to be in action again until Friday evening.

Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire are level at the top with seven points from five fixtures, separated only by net run-rate, with Durham on four points, Derbyshire three and Leicestershire two.

Lancashire’s next match is against Yorkshire at Headingley on Friday before Yorkshire conclude their group campaign with games against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge (July 5), Lancashire at Old Trafford (July 6) and Derbyshire at Headingley (July 8).

Leicestershire, the most successful county in Twenty20 history, having won the tournament three times, must now realistically win their final five group games to have any hope of reaching the last eight after four defeats in their first five matches.

They have a good record against Yorkshire, having won nine of 13 Twenty20 meetings between the teams prior to their defeat at Headingley this month, including five in seven at Grace Road.

Yorkshire will assess the fitness of captain Andrew Gale, who has missed the last two games with a hip injury, with Azeem Rafiq once more poised to deputise.

Whoever captains will have a formidable bowling attack at his disposal, with Yorkshire having performed particularly well with the ball in the first half of the competition.

Ryan Sidebottom, Mitchell Starc, Moin Ashraf, Rich Pyrah and Rafiq himself have all played their part, taking pressure off the batsmen and suggesting that hopes of a first Finals Day appearance are well within Yorkshire’s compass.

chris.waters@ypn.co.uk

Yorkshire (from): Gale, Lyth, Jaques, Root, Miller, Ballance, Pyrah, Brophy, Rafiq, Starc, Sidebottom, Ashraf, Wardlaw, Rashid.