David Wiese: Sussex Sharks are dying to return to Blast Finals Day
It feels like it’s taken forever for our Vitality Blast quarter-final to get here, writes Sussex Sharks all-rounder David Wiese.
Having a month between qualifying and the match, which arrives next Tuesday, to fit in The Hundred does mean the momentum you built up in the group stage is gone. It feels like a one-off game where anything can happen.
Most of our T20 team have been playing in The Hundred where they have of course still been focusing their skills on short-form cricket and will have plenty of game time.
It’s more about team continuity, though. Certain guys will not be getting the opportunities they get with Sussex, or they might be batting out of position and they’re working with different teammates, coaches and surroundings.
But these guys are experienced professionals, and I’m sure they’ll be fine when they come back.
In the past two years we’ve disappointed in the quarter-final game, so we want to rectify that and take the Sharks back to finals day.
We’re going back to Durham, where we have happy memories from our last quarter-final win. Going to a stadium you don’t play at often but knowing you have won big games there before does make a difference. We can look back at what we did right on that night in 2018 and try to implement that again.
Of course, we’re playing a different team in Yorkshire – a team I’ve never played T20 cricket against. That brings new challenges, new players to scout and new plans to make. That’s something I enjoy though.
You can get a bit lazy with your preparation when you play the same teams and the same players time after time, but for a game like this you’ve really got to do your research: study the videos, look at the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and what they do in certain situation.
It will be interesting to see what the crowd is like up at Durham given it is a neutral venue. Will they be supporting the north against the south? Or will a rivalry between Durham and Yorkshire make them more likely to cheer us on?
Knowing the people up there though, they love their cricket and I think they’ll be hoping for a competitive match between to good sides.
With the make up of our squad, if we had to choose a venue to play at then Durham with such big boundaries would be up there.
We could potentially play three leg-spinners with Will Beer, Archie Lenham and Rashid Khan; we’ve also got Delray Rawlins and his left-arm spin and even someone like Ravi Bopara who can take the pace off.
For the batters, it makes it harder to clear the boundary, but that means you’ve got to adapt your game and play smart.
There will be a lot of big pockets where you can manipulate the field and pick up twos and threes and I have a feeling it will be the team that does that most intelligently that will prosper on the night, not necessarily the one that hits the most fours and sixes.
When I signed for this season, I said I wanted another go at getting Sussex to a finals day, so it is nice to have that opportunity next week.
I don’t know what the future will hold, but if this is my last season at the club, going out at finals day and hopefully with a trophy would be a good way to do it.