SOMERSET play two big one-day matches at the County Ground over the weekend, writes Richard Walsh.
Tomorrow (Friday) they entertain Middlesex in the NatWest T20 Blast (5.30pm). Then on Sunday (10.30am) they face Durham in the Royal London One Day Cup – and they need to win both.
First up the Cidermen need to beat Middlesex in their final South group T20 match and then hope that Gloucestershire beat Glamorgan in Cardiff, also on Friday evening, to have any chance at all of progressing through to the quarter finals.
Director of cricket Dave Nosworthy said: “On Friday night it is totally within our control to make sure that we get across the line against Middlesex, but totally out of our control whether we can qualify or not, so we are just trying to focus on the T20 format for ourselves.”
The end of the group stages of the T20 signifies the start of the new 50 over one-day competition.
It’s a format Somerset look well- equipped for so they will be looking to kick-start their eight match campaign with a victory over the against the North-East county.
Nosworthy added: “We then crack on with the 50 over competition starting on Sunday which is a brand new competition.
“It is very exciting for us. There have been some negative comments about going from 40 to 50 overs, but I like the longer format.
“It allows players to really get stuck in. The bowlers have time to get two spells in the game and it also allows spinners to play a bigger role.
“It also allows batters longer time at the crease to score bigger hundreds and for numbers 5, 6 and 7 to score centuries as well.
“The 50 over format brings a lot of other cricketing skills into the game, which I find exciting.
“And with us playing quite well in the longer format I’m hoping that we will be able to convert to the 50 over game quite well.”
“Durham are a decent one-day outfit and a well balanced side. They bat quite deep and their bowlers do a really good job so we need to be aware of that.
“However we need to be really focussed on what we need to do in and ensure that we have the right frame of mind to get across the line when it counts.”
The competition has seen Somerset grouped with Durham, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Middlesex, Sussex, Glamorgan and Surrey and they will play each team once, four at home and four away.
The 50 over format has been kind to Somerset, most recently in 2001 when they won the C&G Trophy.