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Gillespie urges Vikings to steady ship

By Callum Dent

First-team coach Jason Gillespie has demanded an improved performance from Yorkshire Vikings when they travel to face NatWest T20 Blast North Group leaders Worcestershire Rapids tomorrow night.

The Australian has named an unchanged squad for the trip to New Road, resisting the urge to make changes despite witnessing another disappointing performance with the bat at Headingley last night.

Chasing just 124 to defeat Durham Jets and move into third spot in the North Group, the White Rose were skittled for just 95.

The loss was the Tykes’ second in three outings following their defeat to Nottinghamshire Outlaws at Trent Bridge last Saturday.

Gillespie, whose side are without England trio Gary Ballance, Joe Root and Liam Plunkett, told the club’s official website: “There’s no question there is still hope there and this is just a disappointing chapter in our T20 season and we’ll certainly be giving our all at Worcester and we’ll bounce back.

First-team coach Jason Gillespie has urged Yorkshire Vikings to get their NatWest T20 Blast campaign back on track at New Road tomorrow night

 “We’ll be doing everything we can to improve and allow that to happen. The lads are hurting and are disappointed with their performance against Durham, as they should be.

“Our batting group certainly let down the fielding effort. To limit a side like Durham to 120-odd at the end of 20 overs was a fantastic achievement and to then back it up with a pretty poor batting display is very disappointing.

“We’ve just got to learn from these poor displays. We had a poor display against Notts with the bat and this is the second time it’s happened in the space of a week and it’s not good enough – we need to be better.”

Standing in the Vikings’ way in Worcester is a Rapids side brimming with confidence.

Daryl Mitchell’s side are at the summit of both the Blast North Group and LV= County Championship Division Two courtesy of an array of fine performances.

Last Friday’s washout at home to the Outlaws put paid to the Rapids extending their winning sequence to seven matches.

Seamer Charles Morris has been called into director of cricket Steve Rhodes’ 13-man squad, along with Ross Whiteley, following his impresssive display with the red ball this week.

Pakistan international spinner Saeed Ajmal has been an integral part of the Rapids rise to the summit, taking eight wickets in as many matches and conceding just six runs per over on average.

However, the Rapids are without Moeen Ali due to the all-rounder’s England commitments.

Rhodes is expecting a tough encounter with the Vikings, telling the club’s official website: "Yorkshire are playing really well. But we will just try and approach the game like we have with every single game really, to make sure we are doing our best to do our job right.

"Hopefully if we can do that, then it should be good enough to take care of the opposition.

"Again they are a team you must respect and they have got some terrific players.

"We will be doing our best to be on our 'A' game. It is quite tough for us when we haven't gone Moeen playing for us in a game like that.

"But we've got other guys who have come in and stood up and that is what is required in squad cricket."

NatWest T20 Blast facts

All five of the Twenty20 matches between Worcestershire Rapids and Yorkshire Vikings have been won by the team batting first, who had won the toss on each occasion. 

* Saeed Ajmal is one of two players to take more than 20 wickets in English domestics T20s at an economy rate below six – Mushtaq Ahmed is the other. 

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