Kent v Yorkshire: Everything is now falling into place for Yorkshire believes confident captain
ALEX LEES is confident that Yorkshire can complete the next piece in the jigsaw as they continue their quest for an historic treble.
Lees’s men face Kent in the quarter-final of the Royal London Cup at Canterbury today (2pm start).
Yorkshire are also in the hunt to win the County Championship and the NatWest T20 Blast, lying second in the Championship – 26 points behind leaders Middlesex with a game in hand – and through to T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday.
“It’s another chance for us to go a step closer (to the treble), and I’m confident that we can give a good account of ourselves at Kent,” said Lees.
“When you’re still alive in all three competitions at this stage of the season, it’s obviously an exciting time for players and spectators, and it could all come together for us quite nicely.
“But there’s a lot of hard work ahead, and we’ll need a bit of luck along the way.
“We can only do what we’ve been doing all season, which is to go about our business game by game.”
Lees believes a good result today would be the perfect boost going into Finals Day.
But he is under no illusion as to the size of the task.
“Kent are a very good one-day team,” he said.
“They’ve got some talented and dangerous players, and we’ll have to play very well.
“But we’re going down there with a strong team ourselves, and it would be nice to take a win from the quarter-final into T20 Finals Day, which would give us a lot of confidence.”
Yorkshire have England stars Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance available for today’s match and also Finals Day, with Root and Bairstow then rejoining England for the one-day series against Pakistan.
Their presence will strengthen a Yorkshire team that have played some excellent one-day cricket of late, not least in the T20 Blast.
Having been bottom of the North Group at halfway, Yorkshire won six of their last seven matches to reach the quarter-finals.
They then produced one of their best displays of the summer to thrash Glamorgan by 90 runs in Cardiff to set up a semi-final against Durham at Finals Day.
“It was a brilliant win in Cardiff, and it would be great if we could produce a repeat performance against Durham,” said Lees.
“Durham have got Stokesy back (Ben Stokes), which will obviously strengthen them, but we’ve got our England lads, too, and it’s going to be a cracking game.
“We’ve been playing some great T20 cricket at just the right time, and I’m confident in the strength of the team and the cricket that we’re playing.
“Everyone’s been contributing, and it’s a real team effort to get to this stage.”
Yorkshire looked down and out when they were struggling in the group phase, but Lees insists that he never lost faith.
He always felt that a talented squad would come back fighting.
“Everybody was writing us off after the first few games, but we always had that sense of belief that if we got a couple of wins under our belt, then we could get on a roll,” he added.
“We just needed a few wins to get some confidence, and look what that’s done for us.
“It was a frustrating start to the tournament, there’s no doubt about that, but we were confident in our tactics and selections, and I always had the belief in the lads.
“I always believed in the ability that we have in the dressing room, and once we got on that roll, we’ve been hard to stop.”
Yorkshire (from): Bairstow, Ballance, Bresnan, Hodd, Leaning, Lees (capt), Lyth, Patterson, Plunkett, Rafiq, Rashid, Rhodes, Root, Waite, Willey.