RYAN SIDEBOTTOM believes Yorkshire will have done it the hard way if they qualify for the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals tonight.
The Vikings face Sidebottom’s former county Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Headingley in the 14th and final group game with their hopes of Twenty20 silverware hanging by a thread.
If they beat the secondplaced Outlaws in front of the TV cameras, they will qualify for next weekend’s quarter-finals.
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Should they lose, they will have to hope for a Leicestershire win against Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.
Coach Jason Gillespie has named a 14-man squad for the clash, including 16-yearold seamer Matthew Fisher.
Left-arm fast bowler Sidebottom, a World T20 winner with England in 2010, thinks that Yorkshire should have already qualified for the last eight having let slip matches against Notts, Durham and Birmingham.
He has also described Notts as one of the best T20 sides in the country even though the Outlaws have never won the title.
One of Yorkshire’s four defeats came at Trent Bridge last month when they failed to chase down 144.
“It’s been one of those seasons for us in the Twenty20.
We’ve looked really strong, and we should have won every game,” said Sidebottom, who has taken 11 wickets from seven T20 matches in 2014. We’ve given games away when we were on top.
“Notts away, the Durham game when we should have knocked 120-odd off and then again Friday night (against Birmingham), which was disappointing. We’re now in a pretty much must win situation.
“We’ve done well mostly since that game against Notts. We thought we should have won that game hands down, but we let them back in.
“They are probably the strongest team in the North Division. They have got all bases covered. They have some strong bowling and they bat all the way down too.
“It is a big game, and hopefully the crowd will get behind us. We are confident that on our day, we can beat anyone.”
Tonight will be Australian overseas batsman Aaron Finch’s last game before returning home for a national training camp. He would miss the quarter-final and finals day should Yorkshire qualify.
Fisher has replaced bowling all-rounder Oliver Robinson in the squad tonight, with Gillespie saying: “Fish is in good form, and he deserves his call-up to the squad.
“Age is not an issue for us.
Our mantra is that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. We will always promote from within. If players are performing, they will be given a chance.”
Meanwhile, Yorkshire wicketkeeper batsman Jonny Bairstow has been named in the England Lions squad for their triangular one-day series against the A teams of New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Bairstow is the only White Rose name in a 13-man squad coached by Andy Flower.
The series takes place between August 5-12, meaning Bairstow will almost certainly be unavailable for four of Yorkshire’s Royal London one-day Cup matches.