YORKSHIRE CRICKET: Rooting for success

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SHEFFIELD’S Joe Root will be keen to use tomorrow’s CB40 game in Kent as a final warm up ahead of Yorkshire’s maiden appearance in a t20 finals day in Cardiff on Saturday, writes Richard Hewitt.

With Yorkshire’s CB40 season all but over and little left to play for but pride, the Dore batsman will be hoping to settle into a rhythm before carrying the attack to Sussex in the first semi-final at the weekend. His 65 from 40 balls proved instrumental in Yorkshire’s quarter-final victory over Worcestershire, and the return of some familiar faces will further bolster the Yorkshire side.

England duo Johnny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan are all set to be released from international duties following Friday’s ODI against South Africa - its Cardiff location proving ideal for a quick link-up with their Yorkshire team-mates.

Bairstow is likely to enter the batting order at his favoured number four position, a move that will probably see Root keep his spot at three. Bresnan’s availability could mean a selection headache for Yorkshire though, with fit-again Ryan Sidebottom also available.

Off-spinner Azeem Rafiq, who has skippered the side in Andrew Gale’s absence, Adil Rashid and Moin Ashraf have all impressed with the ball in the t20 format, but it seems likely that one will face the axe if Bresnan and Sidebottom both make the cut.

It has been a full month since a Yorkshire t20 side last took to the field, and they will be hoping they have lost none of the momentum they carried into that match, with Root’s 65 contributing to a season’s best tally of 212-5 as Worcestershire were conquered at Headingley.

Speaking after that game, Root said: “That’s the best score we’ve got all year and to do it with the pressure of a quarter-final, having never been to finals day, just proves how hard we’ve worked throughout the season and how good a side we actually are.”

Yorkshire’s CB40 match against Sussex last Sunday provided a dress-rehearsal of sorts, but the rain-affected game that Yorkshire lost on the final delivery (albeit via the Duckworth-Lewis method) lacked the intensity that a full-house at Glamorgan’s SWALEC stadium will provide this weekend.

Hampshire and Somerset will face-off in the other semi-final, with the winners taking on the victors of Yorkshire V Sussex in the final, scheduled to take place on Saturday evening.

Yorkshire’s CB40 game against Kent at Canterbury is set to begin at 16:40 tomorrow.