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Dernbach eyes day to remember

Jade Dernbach is hoping to make it “third time lucky” at Friends Life t20 finals day tomorrow.

Dernbach, now 27, made his Twenty20 debut on finals day in 2005 but leaked 52 runs from four overs as Surrey conceded 217 to Lancashire Lightning and lost their semi-final by 22 runs at The Oval.

The next year Surrey, who won the inaugural competition in 2003, reached finals day for the fourth consecutive time, but the seamer was not selected in a team containing three specialist spinners that lost in the last four to Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.

That was the last time Surrey made finals day so the England limited-overs international, who specialises in bowling with variety in the closing overs, is determined to make the most of this opportunity.

"They’re obviously a fantastic occasion,” he said of finals days. “It’s something that you’d wish many a cricketer has the opportunity to experience and luckily so far I’ve played two already, but they’ve been unsuccessful ones for me so far. Hopefully it’s going to be third time lucky.”

In Dernbach’s way at Edgbaston are holders Hampshire Royals, who beat Surrey home and away in winning the South Group.

However Dernbach, whose 16 wickets helped Surrey come second in a tough pool, is optimistic it can again be third time lucky.

“When you’re leading up to such a big day I think form doesn’t really count for a lot,” he explained.

“It’s whoever turns up and plays the best cricket on the day, and that’s the beauty of finals day. At some stage you have to play the best team to win the competition. 

“Currently they’re the holders and they’ve had a fantastic competition to date but there’s no reason we're not going to turn up on Saturday and provide a result in the semi-final.”

Should Surrey defeat Hampshire, they could play another South Group side - Essex Eagles - in the final. That is if Northants Steelbacks lose Saturday’s first semi.

“As everybody has said and is well documented, the South Division is a very tough one,” added Dernbach, who struck twice as Somerset were beaten at The Oval in a heated quarter-final last week.

“So for us to get out of it in second place and earn ourselves a home quarter-final is brilliant for us and the fans, of course, to reward them for what has been great support from them so far. And now onto the big day.”

Vikram Solanki’s 26-ball 38 was perhaps the telling contribution in the last eight as Surrey chased 149 with three wickets and an over to spare.

With captain Gareth Batty banned from finals day for squaring up to and swearing at Somerset’s Peter Trego, 37-year-old Solanki will lead Surrey on Saturday.

Solanki said: “Hampshire are a very strong side and we’re going to have to play our very best cricket to beat them. But we’re fairly confident that if we can put a game together then we can challenge pretty much any team.”

Solanki, who joined Surrey from Worcestershire last winter, is set to play in his first finals day having four times been a quarter-finalist with the Royals.

“It would be absolutely wonderful to get past the first stage, the semi-final first, and then to experience the final would be brilliant. We’re quietly confident that we can give a good account of ourselves,” he concluded.

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