Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: JUBILANT DURHAM ARE AIMING HIGH

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: JUBILANT DURHAM ARE AIMING HIGH

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER

DURHAM are one game away from the most lucrative competition in domestic cricket history but one of the men who got them there, Liam Plunkett, claimed his team-mates' sights are set higher than merely playing in the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League, writes STUART RAYNER.

Durham reached Finals Day of the Twenty20 Cup when they beat Glamorgan by 44 runs at the Riverside yesterday. A win over Middlesex in Saturday's semi-final will clinch a Champions League place but all-rounder Plunkett is more interested in winning the final later that day.

"We don't want to just get into the top two, we want to win the competition," said Plunkett.

"There's been no talk so far about the pounds 2.5m (prize money on offer in the Champions League). If we win the semi-final it might be a different story." Durham won last year's Friends Provident Trophy - their first silverware since being admitted to First-Class cricket - and Plunkett feels they now have the winning habit.

"The last couple of years we've been the worst Twenty20 team in the country but this year we've put some good performances together," he said. "We have a big following so a lot of people will come down and watch, hopefully we can go through to the final.

"In the last three years our cricket's come on really well and we've contributed in every form of the game. Any team that's stood in our way we feel we have the confidence and the ability to beat them."

Plunkett played a crucial part in Durham's win, smashing 12 off three balls then claiming 3-16. His batting at number nine helped Durham score 100 runs off the last 10 overs when they had looked unlikely to post a challenging total.

"When you've got Ben Harmison at 10 who's got a First-Class hundred, we knew we had the depth in the squad," he said. "We were concerned because with five overs to go we only had 100 on the board but with Polly (Shaun Pollock) and Breesey (Gareth Breese) hitting boundaries at the end plus myself we put a difficult score on the board. …

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