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Eastern Knights close in on Tilney T20 Blitz title

Lizzie Sleet @CricketScotland
July 13, 2018 2 years

Eastern Knights may be just one win away from reclaiming their Tilney T20 Blitz crown but coach Stevie Gilmour appears disinterested in the arithmetic.

Such is the superior net-run-rate enjoyed by the Edinburgh-based region that victory against Caley Highlanders at Forthill today would virtually seal the title.

Both the Highlanders and Western Warriors, who also compete against the hosts in today’s double header, need to win their remaining games while hoping that Gilmour’s men slip-up.

Ignoring the prospect of making themselves virtually uncatchable, the Knights coach said: “We just aim to win every game we play in and if we do that eventually we will be champions.

“It’s going to be a big test of our strength in depth on Friday as we have six players who have been unavailable for selection.”

Watsonians’ opener Mike Carson is among the absentees for the Knights, meaning that his potent opening partnership with George Munsey will be broken and Gilmour noted: “Carson is a big loss given his form so far.

“However, I am fully expecting the other guys to take the opportunities given to them – we still have matchwinners throughout the side.”

Carlton youngster Tom Simpson is one of those given a chance along with his Grange Loan team-mate Ali Shah.

Reigning champions Western Warriors are at the must-win stage and they also have selection problems with Mo Awais, the competition’s leading scorer, out injured along with Fazal Jawad.

Calum MacLeod is with Derbyshire while Hamza Tahir has work commitments and coach Andy Tennant said: “Mo has been an absolute talisman for us this season so losing him is a blow.

“Calum obviously is another major loss for us and in Hamza we’re missing one of the best spinners in the country.

“But I think we’ve now got a bit of strength that we didn’t have in the past so we’ll back ourselves as always – we know we have to win.”

Emphasising the depth of the Warriors squad, Tennant has been able to call on Poloc opener Craig Young, now restored to full fitness following a lengthy injury, and Mitchell Rao who will take Tahir’s spinning duties.

Continuing the theme of the week, the Highlanders once again have to deal with the absence of key players, none more so than national skipper Kyle Coetzer who is on Vitality Blast duty with Northants.

Coach Ryan Watson acknowledges that his team, who are looking to bounce back from last week’s heavy defeat to the Knights, must win both matches today to maintain their interest in this season’s competition.

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