Aaron Finch knows only too well that Australian team-mate James Faulkner could hamstring Yorkshire’s chances of NatWest T20 Blast success tonight, describing the Lancashire all-rounder as a genuine superstar of the game.
The Vikings travel to Emirates Old Trafford looking for their fourth win from nine North Division matches against a Lightning side who beat them earlier in the competition at Headingley.
The majority of a sell out crowd will be cheering on the Lightning, also badly in need of two points having won four and lost five of their nine matches so far.
Faulkner has been Lancashire’s standout player in the Blast this summer.
He has taken 12 wickets from seven appearances with his left-arm seamers, including three-for at Headingley, and scored 215 runs with one half-century.
Faulkner was Australia’s man-of-the-match in the one-day World Cup final against New Zealand in Melbourne in March, yet he doesn’t seem to have the same superstar status as a Finch, Glenn Maxwell or Brendon McCullum, for example.
“He’s a genuine superstar of the game, a World Cup winner and World Cup final man-of-the-match,” insisted opening batsman Finch.
“With the bat, he’s pulled us over the line and got Australia out of a lot of holes to win matches we shouldn’t have.
“With the ball, he has to do the dirty work.
“He bowls in the powerplays and at the death. He never gets an easy ride. He’s someone who works so hard for his position and someone who slips under the radar a little bit because of that.
“Because he does all the dirty work, he can be quite expensive at times, but there’s no one who is not expensive in world cricket these days bowling in those periods.
“The job he’s done for Australia is unbelievable with bat and ball and in the field.
“He’s one of my good mates, and we’ve had quite a bit of banter on text message about this match. It’s going to be good fun. There’s bragging rights and very important points on the line.
“We are there to play our best cricket.
“It’s always a huge clash, the Roses match. I don’t expect anything different - a loud crowd and very supportive, but not so much for us.”
Finch did not play at Headingley last month when a batting exhibition from Jos Buttler got Lancashire over the line off the last ball chasing 186.
But he did play in last year’s Old Trafford clash, which Yorkshire won chasing 180.
Finch smashed 88 off 55 balls with eight fours and five sixes, one of which hit the roof of The Point conference facility over long-on off Jordan Clark.
Will he be trying to repeat the dose, though?
“Absolutely not. I don’t think I can hit one as far as I did last year. I think that was the biggest six I’ve hit,” he added.