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Skipper Andrew Gale urges Yorkshire to end Champions League adventure in style
SKIPPER Andrew Gale wants to end Yorkshire’s season in style by shocking Chennai Super Kings in Durban today (12.30pm UK).
The county will play their final match of a successful 2012 at Kingsmead knowing that pride is the only thing at stake in their Champions League t20 dead rubber.
Gale’s men, severely depleted due to injury, almost pulled off a memorable shock in Johannesburg on Saturday when they made Highveld Lions sweat as the hosts chased down a target of just 132.
With Ryan Sidebottom and Moin Ashraf out following hamstring injuries, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Iain Wardlaw and Steve Patterson made up the pace attack.
While Hannon-Dalby was making his debut in this format, it was Wardlaw’s first Twenty20 appearance of 2012. Patterson, having played in all five matches in South Africa, had not previously played domestic 20-over cricket this year.
The Lions managed to scrape home by five wickets with four balls to spare to qualify for the semi-finals, but they had to get 20 off the last two overs.
Hannon-Dalby conceded 14 off the penultimate as Jean Symes hit a six and four off successive deliveries on the way to a crucial unbeaten 27.
At its easiest, the home chase was a run-a-ball 43 with seven wickets in hand after Yorkshire posted 131-7.
But tight overs from Azeem Rafiq (1-14), Hannon-Dalby, Patterson and Wardlaw set up a tense finish in front of close to 20,000 spectators.
Yorkshire were further depleted during the contest as opener Phil Jaques tore a hip flexor muscle on the way to an innings top score of 31 off 29 balls, meaning he could not field. Rafiq then dislocated a finger while fielding at point.
When the latter went off for treatment, first-team coach Jason Gillespie was forced into action as a sub-fielder.
“We’re disappointed to go out because we would have liked to progress,” said Gale. “With the injuries we’ve had, the players both here and back at home, and the international players we’ve had missing, that side out there had four players who did not represent us in the domestic competition. We can be proud of what we’ve achieved. To take the game that deep is very pleasing.”
With the squad down to its bare bones, Yorkshire are considering calling up Gurman Randhawa as cover for today’s match because the left-arm spinner is playing club cricket in Cape Town.
David Miller, however, is expected to return.
“We might be out of the competition, but we still want to win the game. Chennai have got some world-class players, and we want to hold our own and put a good show on,” added Gale, whose side also gained promotion back to County Championship’s top tier this summer.
“There was a heck of a lot of pressure on us this season, and we’ve stood up and done it. Promotion was the main thing, and it’s going to be fantastic that we’ll be playing in division one. There have been no shrinking violets, and it bodes well for years to come.”