DURHAM visit Northampton tonight seeking revenge for last season’s humbling defeat in the Twenty20 quarter-finals.
It’s the first of four Nat-West T20 Blast matches in eight days, which John Hastings feels gives Durham the chance to get back into the competition after three successive defeats.
The Australian, considered something of a T20 specialist, said: “It will help us to have a block of games together.
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If we can get off to a good start we can get a bit of momentum and we don’t have to think about the championship for another week and a half.
“It’s a challenge to go from format to format and I don’t mind that. It keeps you fresh and keeps you thinking about your game a lot.
“You have to go from bowling a good length in the championship to bowling yorkers and slower balls.”
After tonight’s floodlit match, which starts at 6.30, they have a 2.30 start on Sunday at home to Derbyshire, then visit Headingley on Wednesday and entertain Nottinghamshire next Friday.
After playing in the last three defeats, Hastings feels Durham should now have a better idea of how to get over the line.
“We’ve taken the last three games into the last over so hopefully now we know what to do,” he said.
“I feel more comfortable with every game. The boys have been fantastic and they’ve made me feel very welcome. I feel like I’m doing better and better, getting used to conditions and my surroundings.
“There’s a lot of belief in the dressing room and I just jump on the back of that. We are not out if it.”
Coach Jon Lewis is confident that Usman Arshad is ready to play, despite a leg injury and his ECB reprimand for bowling two full tosses above waist height in last Friday’s defeat by Leicestershire.
Arshad had to be removed from the attack, leaving Paul Collingwood to bowl at the death, and Lewis said: “He was feeling pretty low on Monday, but mentally he’s OK now.
“His injury would prevent him from playing in a longer form of the game, but he can bowl four overs.”
Chris Rushworth will be rested after suffering a twinge in his side in this week’s championship game.
Northants no longer have the Australian Cameron White, whose 58 from 32 balls put last year’s quarter-final beyond Durham.
But they do have the South African Richard Levi, who opens the batting with David Willey, the star of last year’s final. They are captained by ex-Durham batsman Kyle Coetzer.
Durham (from): M D Stoneman, P Mustard, C S MacLeod, B A Stokes, P D Collingwood, G J Muchall, S G Borthwick, G R Breese, K K Jennings, R D Pringle, J W Hastings, U Arshad, P Coughlin.
* Sunday’s match has been designated Jets Family Fun Day, with children under 15 admitted for £1. People booking online or at the Box Office (0844 499 4466) should use the code FUNDAY1. There will be a Mini Fun Fair, Nat- West T20 Blast giveaways, face painter, crafts area, and hot seat prizes to give away.