Collingwood urges Durham to stick together – as NatWest T20 Blast group reaches thrilling climax

Paul Collingwood

Paul Collingwood

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Durham can still scrape into the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals if they win at home to Derbyshire this evening and Warwickshire lose at Old Trafford.

The battle for third and fourth places in the North Group is so tight that Durham are still alive, despite following last Thursday’s hammering at Headingley by losing their unbeaten home record in a four-run defeat by Lancashire.

Derbyshire are on the same number of points, so they also have an outside chance of qualifying (6.30pm start).

Paul Collingwood has played in only four of the T20 games because of injuries, but will lead the side against Derbyshire after taking over the one-day reins from Mark Stoneman, who is to join Surrey next season.

Collingwood said: “It’s really sad. You never want to see a good player who has been brought up in the North East leaving the club.

“We have to make sure we don’t lose any more, stick together and stay strong.

“We always seem to be battling adversity in some way, but we always respond to it well.

“The club is going through a hard time and I want to help them get through it.

“I’ll keep the one-day captaincy for the rest of the season, but I won’t do it long-term.”

After his four one-day games for England Lions, the centrally-contracted Mark Wood was not made available for Wednesday’s Royal London Cup win against Warwickshire.

But he will be in contention tonight, although probably not at the expense of Usman Arshad, who was recalled to the team on Wednesday and took 3-50.

“We will have to come up with a plan for him because when he gets it right he has some serious skill,” said Collingwood.

“He would benefit from a run in the team after being in and out.”

“He has a lot of potential and we have to stick with him.”

The captain also praised Stuart Poynter, who took over behind the stumps from Phil Mustard, who has joined Gloucestershire on loan for the rest of the season.

“Phil has been the heartbeat of the team. I always look to the wicketkeeper to keep the energy and the humour going, and Stuart has come in and done that.

“He kept wicket tidily and was quite vocal.”