Collingwood backs Durham’s T20 side to fire again

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PAUL Collingwood believes that Durham will take some stopping in the Friends Life T20s this week – despite looking down and out just days ago.

Two great knocks from Ben Stokes have helped keep Durham’s qualification hopes alive and Collingwood says that no one should be surprised if they win both tonight’s game against Leicestershire and Sunday’s against Derbyshire.

The club captain, who misses this evening’s game with an injured thumb, said: “I really think we have an opportunity to send ourselves through in these next couple of games.

“We have got ourselves in a good position now to really turn things around.

“It’s amazing T20, in that once you get a bit of momentum in it, you can be very hard to beat – and we’ve got that momentum and I know the lads are really looking forward to tonight’s match.”

The big hitting of Stokes has been key to the upturn in Durham’s T20 fortunes but Collingwood also says that the bowlers deserve credit too, for the progress made.

“I think the guys now are really just starting to understand their roles in the side, how to approach it, and the bowlers in particular have worked hard to get the totals down a lot more,” he commented.

“That’s the most important thing I think, because the one thing you don’t want to be doing in T20 is chasing too high a total.

“When you’re being set 170s, 175s to win, you’re only probably going to be able to do that one game in 10.

“ So it’s so important that you restrict the opposition and we’re now starting to do that, and your 140s, 145s are much more attainable.

“I know it’s a tall order but that’s the great thing about T20s – how quickly you can turn it around with a couple of good performances and now that we’ve got the bit between our teeth in the tournament, there’s no reason why we can’t do that.”

Collingwood, who will be a keen spectator in both games, would loved to have played a part himself in the matches but is still sidelined by the thumb split he sustained in the game against Yorkshire

He said: “I was very close to declaring myself fit last week but the last couple of net sessions I had, my thumb was hurting on shots and it was caused me grief with a couple of catches I was taking.

“So I just thought what is the point in taking a risk?

“Far better to come back fully fit because that’s the best for me, and the team.”

Collingwood is now targeting a return in the four-day game against Middlesex which begins a week tomorrow.