Yorkshire v Surrey: White-ball progress gives Jason Gillespie grounds for optimism as prize of Lord’s final awaits

Yorkshire head coach, Jason Gillespie.
Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Yorkshire head coach, Jason Gillespie. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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JASON GILLESPIE believes there has been clear progress in Yorkshire’s one-day cricket this year, regardless of the result of tomorrow’s semi-final.

Yorkshire are aiming to reach their first Lord’s final since 2002 when they take on Surrey at Headingley (11am start).

THREAT: Surrey's Kumar Sangakkara

THREAT: Surrey's Kumar Sangakkara

It is the second successive season that Yorkshire have reached the Royal London semis, with the club going down by eight wickets to eventual champions Gloucestershire at Headingley last year.

Surrey, last season’s runners-up, will pose another stiff test, but Gillespie has been encouraged by Yorkshire’s white-ball performances, with the club having also reached the semi-finals of the NatWest T20 Blast before losing to Durham.

“We’ve seen clear progress in white-ball cricket this year,” said Gillespie. “We’re not the finished article, but we’ve definitely seen improvements overall in both of the comps.

“We should have chased down the runs against Durham in the T20 semi, even though Mark Wood bowled very well against us.

“But that’s gone now, and I’m pleased overall with how the lads have gone about their work in one-day cricket.”

To get past Surrey, Yorkshire must overcome a semi-final hoodoo in List A cricket. Their defeat to Gloucestershire last season was their 16th in 19 one-day cup semis.

“That stat isn’t in our minds,” said Gillespie. “It hasn’t even been discussed. Sunday is a new day, and the fact is that we’ve played some good cricket in the 50-over comp.

“We know Surrey are a quality team and that people will see them as favourites, which is okay with us.

“We just need to go out there and play the best cricket we can and focus on that.”

On paper, the biggest danger to Yorkshire is Kumar Sangakkara, the former Sri Lanka batsman/wicketkeeper. Sangakkara, 38, scored an unbeaten 130 to help Surrey to a dramatic one-wicket win off the last ball of their quarter-final at Northants.

“Sangakkara is clearly an extremely dangerous player,” said Gillespie, whose side booked their semi-final place with an 11-run win over Kent at Canterbury.

“He has a proven track record, and he is capable of winning games single-handed.

“At the same time, we will do our homework against him and encourage our bowlers and everyone to do their research.

“Phil Dicks (the Yorkshire analyst) puts a lot of stuff together, and the players have iPads where they can look at all the relevant footage – ie, where Sangakkara scores his runs, his wagon wheels, and potentially where he could be vulnerable, which is what we do with all our opponents.”

Yorkshire’s attention to detail in this regard has increased markedly in recent times.

Dicks is an important member of the backroom operation, equipping players with all the necessary stats and info.

“Phil has been brilliant,” said Gillespie. “He’s an important cog in the support staff at Yorkshire.

Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bresnan, Brooks, Carver, Coad, Hodd, Leaning, Lees (capt), Lyth, Patterson, Rafiq, Rhodes, Waite.

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