Durham’s Dale Benkenstein calls for a big hit

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SOMEONE needs to make it big – that’s the verdict of one-day skipper Dale Benkenstein after Durham lost their opening T20 encounter against Warwickshire Bears at the Emirates ICG last night.

The visitors made light work of Durham’s 151 to cruise to a five-wicket victory.

Batting first, the hosts made an assured start with Phil Mustard and Gordon Muchall putting together a stand of 55 after just six overs.

But no one was able to accelerate the scoring for the Dynamos, and Benkenstein admitted his side needed to find more firepower.

“We talk about partnerships or big individual scores taking you through to win a match,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t find that in this game, but that is what you need particularly in this format.

“We have got a good team, but it’s a case of needing individuals winning matches for us in T20.

“Making big scores is what really wins you games. If you look at most T20 matches there’s usually one guy getting a big score or being part of big partnership to take their side to victory.

“We didn’t do that last night.”

Ireland captain Will Porterfield was the go to man for the Bears hitting 83 from 53 balls to tie the scores before being run out.

With two overs remaining at that point, there was never any doubt that the away side were going to claim the spoils.

The victory owed much to Porterfield, and Benkenstein admitted the Irishman is fast becoming a thorn in the side for Durham.

“We are getting a bit sick of him to be honest,” he joked. “He had a really good knock against us in the 40-over game as well (Porterfield hit 80 against Durham in a Pro-40 match just 12 days earlier at Edgbaston to seal a home win).

“I haven’t seen a lot of him, but he looks like a really confident player and he has got some vital runs in the middle order.”

Ian Blackwell had earlier made an unbeaten 46 in the Dynamos middle order, but Warwickshire were able to tie down Durham’s batsmen at a time when they should have been looking to post a more competitive total.

And while that was disappointing from a Durham point of view, Benkenstein admitted the visitors deserved credit for the way they had gone about their task.

Medium pacer Steffan Piolet, played a vital role with the ball as his four-over spell brought two wickets for just 19 runs to help to put the brakes on Durham.

Benkenstein added: “It was quite a unique game at the end of our innings. I don’t think there was one ball that wasn’t a yorker.

“Every single ball was exactly where they wanted to bowl, which was good cricket from them and we didn’t really have an answer to it.”

While Warks executed their game plan with precision, the Durham skipper felt his side never got enough runs to give their bowlers too much of a fighting chance.

And he says that allowed the visitors to step things up a gear when it came to the run-chase.

“They got off to a good start and were scoring at around 10 runs an over,” he said. “That meant they needed a run a ball towards the end.

“When it gets to that stage you can’t really restrict sides, you have to try to put pressure on them early on to make sure they need 10 an over at the end of the innings, not a run a ball, and we failed to do that.”

Durham must now dust themselves down and get ready for another T20 clash with an away-day against Worcestershire Royals on Sunday.

There was no happy return for England ace Paul Collingwood, who made just seven runs from 10 balls, while new overseas star David Miller made a steady, if unspectacular debut carrying his bat for 15.