Voges targets a return to t20 knockout stage with Middlesex

Adam Voges admits Middlesex’s array of batting talent has given him real hope of a return to the Friends Life t20 knockout stage this season.

The 33-year-old Australian, who is regarded as a Twenty20 specialist, reached the 2010 finals day with Nottinghamshire, who were also losing quarter-finalists in each of the last two seasons.

Ironically, Voges has yet to shine with the bat in his Panthers career – but he has seen enough from his team-mates to convince him they can mount a rare bid to qualify from the South Group.

Adam Rossington’s sparkling knock of 74 guided Middlesex to a nine-wicket win over Kent Spitfires on Sunday, while Dawid Malan (twice) and Joe Denly have also hit half-centuries in this year’s competition.

“You need a lot of people contributing and I see that in this team,” Voges told london24.com.

“If you look at our batsmen, probably everyone bar me has contributed so far – and hopefully mine’s on the way.

“Malan and Rossington have had exceptional tournaments so far, but Denly and Neil Dexter have also played well and so has Paul Stirling in a couple of games, so everyone’s chipping in.

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“Adam’s an exciting talent – he backs himself and plays with a lot of freedom and he’s got the kind of all-round game that means he can really hurt you when he gets in.

“Once he finally got a couple out of the middle, he was away – and he played like that against Kent in the first game as well. They must be sick of the sight of seeing him whacking them to the boundary.

“A lot of credit goes to the young guys and, with the batsmen we have, we go into a game thinking we can make or chase any total. That fills you with a lot of confidence.

“Confidence comes hand-in-hand with another word – momentum. If you can play with freedom and confidence in this game, you give yourself half a chance.

“I think we’ve played reasonably well so far and we’ve won three and lost two. That’s probably a fair reflection of what this group’s like – any team on their day is good enough to top the group.”

The Panthers currently occupy second place in the table behind Surrey, although they have played more games than all but one of the teams below them.

The next two fixtures are likely to be crucial to their hopes of qualification – they face Essex Eagles at Chelmsford on Friday before taking on defending champions Hampshire Royals at Richmond on Sunday (2.30pm start).

Voges is particularly looking forward to the clash with Hampshire – a team he represented in the 2007 tournament, adding: “I’ve played a lot of cricket with [Hampshire’s] Dimitri Mascarenhas back home in Perth and we’re good mates.

“Come Sunday, I’ll be determined to put one over on Hampshire, but they’ve been very successful in this format. They’ve just found a way, haven’t they – there’s a formula that works for them.

“The key is to take what we’ve done against Kent, bring that into the games against Essex and Hampshire and try to repeat that again and again. You’ve got to be right on your game every game.”

Middlesex’s hopes of avoiding their second successive County Championship defeat largely rest on the Australian’s shoulders as they go into the final day at Uxbridge still needing 30 runs to make visitors Warwickshire bat again.

Voges top scored with 150 in Middlesex’s first innings, but that was not enough to avoid the follow-on and the home side closed on 147-5 last night, with Voges at the crease for a second time and unbeaten on 15.