IN-FORM County Championship leaders Yorkshire turn their attentions to the shortest format of the game at Headingley Carnegie this evening.
A NatWest T20 Blast match aagainst Red Rose arch-rivals Lancashire marks the start of a sequence of five T20 games in eight days for the Vikings.
With seven points from five games, Yorkshire are fifth in the North Division.
They do, however, have either two or three matches in hand on the quartet of sides sitting above them in the table.
Lancashire, second with 12 points from eight games, are one of those teams that Yorkshire have in their sights – making tonight’s eagerly-anticipated clash a potentially crucial affair.
Lancashire will be gunning for revenge, especially considering the controversial docking of six runs for a slow over rate that helped Yorkshire chase down a target of 180 runs.
Captain Andrew Gale said: “It was a great win over there. It was fantastic to be involved in. It is a sell out at Headingley, and all the lads are excited about Friday night.
“We have won a few tricky games there over the years. Any win at Old Trafford is special, but to win in the fashion we did by knocking 180-odd off – and there was a little bit of controversy around it as there usually is in the Roses games – was great.
“At least this time, I wasn’t involved. I kept well out of it.”
Big-hitting Australian, Aaron Finch the world’s highest ranked Twenty20 batsman, is also hoping to wow a capacity crowd in tonight’s sell-out Roses clash.
Finch hit a scintillating 88 when the two rivals met earlier this month and Finch is expecting a backlash from the Red Rose county.
“My innings against Lancashire was one I enjoyed,” said Finch, who admits the big danger tonight will come from Junaid Khan and Kabir Ali.
“That innings was a good one. I paced my innings quite well.
“I was a bit inconsistent at the start and trying to hit the ball too hard.
“I was a bit one paced as a result.
“But, as I continued through my innings, I felt I played reasonably well and seemed to hit the gaps pretty well. I enjoyed it.
“He (Khan) is a super bowler and a guy, when bowling at the death with Kabir Ali, who is hard to score runs against. They are such great yorker bowlers.
“Lancashire will be a great game,” said the 27-year-old, who will be available for the rest of the Vikings’ group games before flying back home to take part in a training camp with the Australian national team.
“They will be out for some revenge at our home ground. It will be exciting. The people of Leeds and Yorkshire will be right behind us.”
Finch accepted the offer to join Yorkshire despite having two more lucrative offers on the table and he said he would be interested in returning to the county at some stage in the future.
Finch added: “This is a great place to play your cricket. I am very grateful for the opportunity to play cricket here and happy to have scored some runs.
“I would love to come back in the future. The county has been fantastic to me.”
Tim Bresnan should be available after missing the Championship victory over Warwickshire to have an injection in a troublesome elbow injury, while Adam Lyth is expected to overcome a bang on the hand received on the final day at Edgbaston.