HAMISH MARSHALL insists Gloucestershire have no reason to fear Somerset in their ‘do or die’ Yorkshire Bank 40 (YB40) clash at Bristol on Bank Holiday Monday (1.45pm).
Both sides are on the same number of points at the top of Group C and the winners are likely to go through to the semi-finals.
Somerset have won handsomely in the three previous meetings between the neighbours this season – twice in the Friends Life (FL) t20 and once in the YB40 – but batsman Marshall points to Gloucestershire’s nine-wicket win in the FLt20 at Taunton last year as reason to believe his side can turn the tables.
The 34-year-old starred on that day with an unbeaten 66 as Gloucestershire chased down their target of 141 with 32 balls to spare, while Somerset’s derby victories this year have all come when they were batting second.
“They’re a good side, they’ve got a very good squad, but saying that we played very well in a Twenty20 game last year at their spot and I think if we go at them and not back off we’ll have a good chance,” said Marshall.
“They are beatable but we know we’ll have to be at our best so fingers crossed we can do the job on Monday.
“This summer a lot of teams have been chasing quite well but if you get a good score batting first and then get early wickets then the opposition will have to work hard to get the runs so either way we’ve just got to use our skills well with the bat and ball and it’s all about putting pressure on the opposition.”
Gloucestershire kept their hopes of progressing alive on Sunday with a two-wicket victory at Bristol over Glamorgan, who are two points behind the two West Country sides and are still in the race to reach the semi-finals with two games to play – at home to Leicestershire on Sunday and away to Yorkshire the following day.
If both sides win their remaining games the Welsh county would be likely to top the group on run rate, leaving Gloucestershire in a fight to go through as the best runners-up from all three groups, although they currently have a better run rate than Northants and Lancashire, who are second in Groups A and B respectively and are on the same points as them. Gloucestershire could even lose their final group game to Somerset and qualify, but they would be relying on several results elsewhere going in their favour.
Marshall said: “In all the games recently we’ve been in that position. We knew if we just kept winning we’d get there so we’ve treated every game like that and against Somerset we’ll turn up knowing it’s do or die.”
The New Zealander has been in fine form in the County Championship this season with four centuries in 11 matches, but his entertaining knock of 55 against Glamorgan was only his second half-century in white ball cricket.
His opening partnership with Michael Klinger set the platform as they chased down 248 to win, but while Marshall was out straight after bringing up the century stand, his partner went on to get 87.
Marshall added: “It was nice to get to that milestone but when you’re in like that the key is to take responsibility and Michael did that, like he has all season. Unfortunately I got out but hopefully next time I can hang in for longer.
“We knew they had a reasonable score but if you get off to a good start you put pressure on the opposition and their bowlers.”