A RIGHT royal thrashing ended Durham’s treble bid, and coach Geoff Cook has warned his players they will have to up their game to stop Hampshire hurting their chances of winning the County Championship this week.
The Riversiders have only played three knockout games in the entire history of Twenty20. Two have ended in humiliating defeat at the Rose Bowl.
Hampshire’s 55-run margin of victory was a fair reflection of the only one-sided quarter-final in the Friends Life T20 so far. Chasing an improbable 155, Durham were bowled out for double figures with nine balls to spare.
The hosts’ big threats are Imran Tahir and Shahid Afridi – described pre-match by Dale Benkenstein as “the two best leg-spinners in the world” – but 20-year-old English slow left-armer Danny Briggs claimed a career-best 5-19 and a run-out to build on a calm 56 from former Durham player Neil McKenzie.
The two sides meet in the Championship at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday, when Durham will be without two, possibly three all-rounders.
Paul Collingwood did not play on the south coast after back spasms batting in the Championship on Friday, and now faces a race to be part of a Durham side deprived of its two young stars by the England Lions.
“We will have to assess him today,” Cook said of England’s former Twenty20 captain. “We’re going to be without Scott Borthwick and Ben Stokes for the four-day game.
“It’s a big match for us now, so it’s up to the other guys to put their hands up and perform after the disappointment of not beating Nottinghamshire last week.”
So imperious before then, Championship leaders Durham have given the chasing pack of Lancashire, Somerset and Warwickshire encouragement by failing to win their last two games. The consolation for them is that Briggs has also been called up for England’s reserves when they take on Sri Lanka A this week.
But Durham will have to up their game after being outplayed in every department yesterday. Only their fielding – normally an Achilles heel – was anything like up to scratch, taking advantage of some dreadful running between the wickets with three run outs, including Afridi before the master slogger had faced a ball.
Hampshire won the toss and probably scored 30 or more runs too many with Durham’s three spinners unable to rein them in. “We were a little bit surprised at how much the wicket spun,” admitted Cook.