Phil Mustard: Durham must keep on fighting

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PHIL Mustard says Durham must fight to the end after keeping their hopes of qualifying for the Twenty20 quarter-finals alive with a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Leicestershire Foxes.

Dynamos’ chances of making the last eight are slim, and could yet require results elsewhere to go in their favour.

But should they miss out, wicket-keeper-batsman Mustard says it won’t be for the lack of trying.

“We had a chat when there were six games left and we said we had to win four of them to have a chance of qualifying,” he said.

“We need to win the last two matches to put ourselves in the best possible position and then wait and see what happens.

“While there’s a chance, it is important that we keep working hard, and make sure we do our jobs.”

Last year’s champions Leicestershire looked a shadow of their former selves at the Emirates ICG yesterday.

Abdul Razzaq top scored for the Foxes with 47, but it took him most of the innings to get to that total.

He found little in the way of support from his team-mates as Durham’s bowlers strangled the life out of their opponents – restricting them to 114-7 from their 20 overs.

In stark contrast, the hosts raced to their target with 6.4 overs to spare for the loss of just one wicket.

Mustard was the man to depart, but he was justifiably pleased with his efforts – a 29-ball half-century before falling lbw to Josh Cobb for 51.

He said: “I was expecting a fast delivery, but not that fast. He just did me for pace, but that’s life.

“I was pleased with the half-century, because I’m starting to hit it pretty nice now. I had a disappointing first few games, but it’s starting to come together now.”

Durham’s bowlers shared the wickets as Gareth Breese and Ben Stokes both picked up braces, while Scott Borthwick and Graham Onions took one apiece.

But it wasn’t about wickets, it was more the way the home side refused to let the visitors build up any sort of momentum, which took its toll.

Mustard was quick to praise the efforts of his side’s bowling attack.

“The bowlers set up the total for us,” he said. “I think we probably had the best of the pitch with the ball nibbling around a bit, but it was still a great effort from the bowlers, and it got us off to a good start.

“Normally in T20 it’s key that you take a lot of quick wickets, but that wasn’t the case here. We stopped them from scoring and picked up wickets at crucial times, which was key for us.”

With the bat, Mustard and opening partner Herschelle Gibbs led the way for the Dynamos.

The pair shared a stand of 82 before Mustard departed, and the South African was left stranded on 49 not out as Durham crossed the line.

The two sides meet again at Grace Road on Friday (5.30pm start) before Durham’s final game of the group stages at home to Lancashire on Sunday.