Durham Jets head coach Jon Lewis previews T20 Blast quarter-final against Sussex Sharks

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Durham Jets head coach Jon Lewis has fond memories of T20 Blast Finals Day after guiding his side to the prestigious event back in 2016.

That day, Durham defeated local rivals Yorkshire to move within one match of winning their first T20 title, before losing to Northamptonshire by five wickets.

Tonight, the Jets have another chance to reach the competition’s grand finale when they host the Sussex Sharks at the Emirates Riverside Cricket Ground.

And Lewis, a former batsman for the club, is determined to grasp the opportunity.

“We were at Finals Day a couple of years back and I have to be honest I enjoyed the experience tremendously,” said Lewis, who was appointed Durham head coach in 2013.

“It’s a really great day, it’s well staged by Edgbaston so to get there and enjoy that atmosphere again, it’s something we want to do.

Durham Jets head coach Jon Lewis.

Durham Jets head coach Jon Lewis.

“I honestly think this side will raise the atmosphere a little bit at Edgbaston too, we go about it in the right way as do our supporters.”

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been made available by the ECB (England Cricket Board) for tonight’s match after he was initially ruled out with a knee injury.

Stokes, who batted and bowled in England's defeat to India in the third Test ,will only feature as a batsman against Sussex, but should still give the side a huge boost.

The Jets will be cheered on by a bumper crowd tonight, in what will be their first T20 quarter-final at home since 2008.

And Lewis can’t wait for the match to start.

“I think having a vociferous crowd behind you and a big one when you go out is a real bonus,” he said.

“I think they're great spectacles, a good T20 night, the lights come on and there's a lot of noise and everyone's basically having a good evening.

“It would be good to play some good cricket in front of a big crowd so we want to have a big crowd that's for sure.”

Durham secured second place in the nine-team North Group to reach the last eight - a vast improvement on last year when they finished bottom.

Lewis believes the whole team have moved forward since then, but also praised spin bowler Imran Tahir, who arrived at the start of the campaign.

“Small margins can make a big difference in most forms of the game but certainly in T20.

“I think a little bit more experience on the field, adding Imran Tahir at the start of the competition helped us to get some early wins and gave us confidence going into the second half of the competition.

“So even though Imi went away we still felt going onto the field that we were a good side who were expected to win all the time.”