MARTYN MOXON believes the pain of Yorkshire’s defeat in the final of the 2012 T20 competition can help spur them on to go one better this time.
Yorkshire lost by 10 runs to Hampshire in the final at Cardiff on their only previous appearance at Finals Day.
They have waited a long time to erase the memory of that setback, and director of cricket Moxon feels it will drive the players on at Edgbaston today.
“It was tough losing that final, and it whetted the appetite to try and win the tournament in the future,” said Moxon.
“Clearly it’s taken longer than we would have liked to get back there, and I think it’s a great opportunity for us, given the team that we’ve got on paper, to go one step further and hopefully win the competition.
“With our England players available, we’ve got a very good team, but clearly it’s about what happens on the day.
“T20, in particular, is all about how you perform on the day, and there’s four good teams involved, each of which is capable of winning it.”
Yorkshire take on Durham in the second semi-final at 2.30pm. Notts and Northants meet in the first semi at 11am, with the final taking place at 6.45pm.
“Durham are a very good team,” said Moxon.
“They’ve got match-winners in the likes of Ben Stokes and Mark Wood.
“We’ve got to be at our very best and, if we are, we can certainly beat them and hopefully go all the way and win the thing.
“The T20 is something we haven’t won before, so it’s important to us, and it would be nice to get that monkey off our backs.”
That Yorkshire even have a chance of erasing the memory of 2012 is a minor miracle given that they were bottom of the North Group at the halfway stage.
Yorkshire won only one of their opening seven games before winning six of their last seven to reach the quarter-finals.
“T20 is all about finding a method and I think that we’ve found it,” said Moxon.
“It’s taken hard work and, to a certain extent, failure for us to find it, because clearly the things that we were doing at the start of the competition weren’t working.
“From a batting point of view, we’ve worked on the areas in which we’re trying to strike the ball. They’re much better areas now.
“We’d found ourselves getting into trouble by playing too square of the wicket, so, as a consequence, we are hitting the ball a lot straighter now.
“It’s probably taken too long to change and rectify, but that’s been the biggest thing as far as the batting is concerned.
“Bowling-wise, having the skills that are required, the change-ups, and having the ability to bowl the change-ups (different deliveries) that are needed at various times in the innings, we’ve got better at that as well.
“As for our fielding, I think that’s been outstanding generally.”
Moxon was particularly pleased with Yorkshire’s fielding when Glamorgan were clinically beaten by 90 runs in the quarter-final in Cardiff.
David Willey laid the platform with a swashbuckling 79, proving again why Yorkshire were so keen to sign him last winter to improve their white-ball cricket, and the bowlers did the rest in a fine team performance.
“We brought our A-game to the quarter-final,” said Moxon.
“We were outstanding in the field, as good as you can get, and the ruthless way we went about our business was superb.
“David Willey set the tone with the bat, and we signed him precisely because we wanted to improve our one-day form immediately.
“Long-term he can have an impact in red-ball cricket too, but he’s made a big difference to our T20 side.”
Another player who has made a big difference is Azeem Rafiq, the off-spinner who returned to the club in mid-season after almost two years out of the professional game.
It is no coincidence that Yorkshire’s T20 resurgence can be traced back to Rafiq’s arrival.
“It has been a team effort to get to Finals Day, but Rafiq has done exceptionally well and he’s a great competitor,” said Moxon.
“He creates a buzz in the field as well as bringing his bowling skill, and he’s been a big factor in our improvement.
“Bottom line is, we’ve worked really hard to try to find the right method in T20.
“There’s been a lot of frustrations along the way, a lot of disappointments, and hopefully the lads can get some silverware now to show for their hard work.”
Twenty20 Finals Day build-up: Page 7