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Dernbach backs Surrey to defend crown

Yorkshire Bank

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Jade Dernbach is wary of Surrey’s status as the team to beat in this year’s Clydesdale Bank 40, but has no doubt they can retain the title.

The Lions last season won 12 of their 14 CB40 games, beating Somerset by five wickets in a rain-reduced final at Lord’s.

Given that tally doubled their competition victories in 2010, Surrey were by no means favourites the following year.

However, a young but talented squad quickly gelled in List A cricket, with a sole defeat coming in their last round-robin match once Group B was won.

This time, all opponents will know of Surrey’s threat - not least Somerset, whom they face in the opening contest at the Kia Oval today.

“People now will have a better knowledge of how we go about playing, so that’s something we’re going to have to deal with and counteract,” Dernbach told ecb.co.uk.

“We’ve got an amazing amount of talent here at Surrey. I think we’ve got a great opportunity to defend that this year. I really think we’ve got the goods to go all the way.”

There is little to separate Surrey and Somerset as pre-tournament favourites with bookmakers.

Indeed, an upbeat Dernbach sees the advantage of beginning against the CB40 runners-up of the last two years in a televised game.

“Whenever you’re coming to defend a trophy, it’s always going to be exciting. You want to get up and running and get started,” he said.

“It’s probably a good time for us to play Somerset, first game. It’s exciting for the public to see the two teams that got into the final as a curtain-raiser for what is a fantastic competition.”

Alfonso Thomas & Jade Dernbach

Surrey's Jade Dernbach, last year's leading CB40 wicket-taker, told ecb.co.uk: "I really think we’ve got the goods to go all the way.”

Surrey and Somerset are joined in a difficult-looking group by another of last season’s semi-finalists Durham, Nottinghamshire, Hampshire, Glamorgan and Scotland.

But, having gone all the way last year, Dernbach does not mind such a tricky pool from which a maximum of two teams will progress.

“It is a tough group, but at some stage or another throughout the competition you’re going to have to face those teams,” he added. “Whether that’s in the group stages or the knockout stages, at some stage you will face each other.

“Maybe it’s not the worst thing, you can get a first look at them and a feel of how they play it if they do reach the latter stages like last year.”

The fast bowler need not be fazed by any batting line-up in the CB40, having been last year’s leading wicket-taker with 23 scalps in nine matches at an average of 14.08.

Starting this season’s competition in similar fashion to his man-of-the-match 4-30 in the final can only aid Surrey’s prospects and his chances of further England honours.

“I want to try and be as successful as possible, whichever way that means. Whether that’s taking a lot of wickets or doing the role that’s needed by the team,” he said.

“As long as we continue to be successful, that’s the really important thing. But for me, with a lot of one-day international cricket coming up this summer, it’s a competition I want to stake a big claim in and regain my stock in the one-day set-up.”

Regaining his stock is perhaps a modest reflection on a winter that began with a chastening trip to India, but ended with match-winning displays versus Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Those were limited-overs contests, but Dernbach’s next international opportunity is set to come in England Lions’ four-day meeting with West Indies at Northampton next week.

He is not only in line to face Somerset before then, but also Scotland on Sunday at Edinburgh in Surrey’s second CB40 encounter.

“Having had a relative amount of success on the international stage helps me when I go into these games because I’m confident in what I’m capable of producing,” he added.

“I’ve got a gameplan, which I’ll hopefully stick to and work with. I can bring confidence from how successful we were last year in this competition and try and build some early momentum.”

Dernbach is part of a 13-man Surrey squad, including Zafar Ansari and Gary Wilson, selected for today’s fixture.

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