Tyron's dreaming of Twenty20 glory

Tyron Henderson believes it is a fresh mental approach and not the potential riches of the Champions League that has driven Middlesex s dramatic Twenty20 improvement this season.

COUNTY CRICKET BY BEN KOSKY

Tyron Henderson believes it is a fresh mental approach and not the potential riches of the Champions League that has driven Middlesex's dramatic Twenty20 improv-ement this season.

The announcement of a lucrative $5million world Twenty20 competition has raised the stakes as never before for the eight county sides left in this year's domestic tournament.

The Crusaders are among that octet for only the second time since the arrival of Twenty20 cricket in 2003, having topped the South Division with eight wins out of 10 to set up a quarter-final clash with Lancashire on Tuesday night.


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But the Durban-born all-rounder, who has made key contributions with both bat and ball in this year's competition, told the Journal: "I think the mindset has changed.

"Last year the guys weren't so confident because they didn't have a great record in Twenty20 and as a result we were written off again this season - no-one actually gave us a chance.

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"But we just get out on the park and do our thing. We're working more as a team now, we seem to have the combinations right and if everyone does his job well, you're going to win more than you lose.

"I think it is a big incentive to the guys that there's a serious pot of gold at the end of it if you do well, but you can't worry about things that are so far in the future.

"In terms of long-term goals, it'd be wonderful to go to the Champions League, but at this stage we're in the quarter-finals, now let's get to finals day and go from there.

"Twenty20 is all about what happens on the day - all you need is one guy from the opposition to come off in a big way and that could be you dead and buried."

The 33-year-old, who represents Middlesex under the Kolpak ruling, has been 'coming off' consistently in recent weeks, featuring frequently as first change bowler and collecting a total of 18 wickets.

That makes him Twenty20's joint top wicket-taker this year with fellow South African Andrew Hall (Northants) and Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria (Essex).

Henderson also averages a healthy 26.33 with the bat - and, with Owais Shah on England duty and skipper Ed Smith kept out by an ankle injury, Middlesex have been looking to others to weigh in with runs.

Younger batsmen such as Eoin Morgan, Billy Godleman and Dawid Malan have risen impressively to the challenge and Henderson added: "It's been a good opportunity for the younger guys to show what they can do.

"I think it's not bad for the game sometimes when they're thrown in at the deep end. It's sink or swim, boys - and generally they're all swimming pretty well at the moment.

"I'm not unhappy with my own form, either. I feel I've been there or thereabouts and I'm doing pretty much what Middlesex want me to do.

"My life happens week by week at the moment - and whatever cricket comes up, I enjoy it. How can you not enjoy it when you're winning and playing at Lord's as well?"

However, Henderson and Middlesex will swap Lord's for The Oval for Tuesday's game with Lancashire, as headquarters is gearing up to stage the first Test between England and South Africa starting on July 10.

After briefly considering Uxbridge, where Middlesex entertain the touring South Africans in a three-day game starting on Friday, the club decided to switch to The Oval which has a far greater capacity and is also more convenient for supporters.

The game will start at 5.40pm, with the winners heading to the Finals Day at Hampshire's Rose Bowl on July 26, when the two finalists will also qualify for September's inaugural Champions League in India.

Twenty20 Cup Quarter-Finals:

July 7 Durham v Yorkshire

July 7 Essex v Northamptonshire

July 8 Middlesex v Lancashire

Jul 9 Warwickshire v Kent

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