Glamorgan vs. Nottinghamshire: Pace Attack Key to Victory in Yorkshire Bank 40
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If Glamorgan are to force a historic victory in Saturday's Yorkshire Bank 40 final at Lord's, it will be because of their impressive bowling attack.
The Welsh side have been underestimated at every stage of the competition, but everyone is paying attention now.
Michael Hogan, Simon Jones and Jim Allenby have all contributed to Glamorgan's remarkable run, and it will take one more dominant performance from each if they are to lift their first trophy in almost a decade.
They almost didn't make it at all, only qualifying for the semifinal by virtue of a slightly superior run-rate to Northamptonshire. However, from that point on it was Allenby who took control.
First he ensured a strong Glamorgan total with a quick 74, then produced an economical display with the ball to only concede just 18 runs from his allocated eight overs. Hampshire had no real answer, and spluttered to 203-8 in reply to Glamorgan's 234-4.
Allenby is undoubtedly the key man going into the final, and Nottinghamshire will be wary of the all-rounder. However, there's another player who will be keen to make a big impression, in what will be his final match as a full-time cricketer.
Jones was supposed to be an international star, and his impact on the 2005 Ashes series will never be forgotten. Unfortunately, he struggled with almost continuous injuries and will now focus on Twenty20 cricket after Saturday's final.
Due to his mastery of the swinging ball, Jones is always a threat. He may not be as explosive as he was in that devastating spell at Old Trafford in 2005, but his control and experience make him a dangerous bowler in limited-overs cricket.
The thing with Glamorgan is at the start of the year no one would have given us a sniff. In that sense it would mean more than the Ashes because of how many people we've proved wrong. We've now got boys in the changing room with no fear.
Facing a fearless opponent is one of the toughest tasks in sport, yet Glamorgan have one more ace up their sleeve. Australian paceman Hogan has been the best bowler for the club all season, topping the averages in both championship and 40-over cricket.
In Notts' James Taylor, he'll face a batsman eager to stake his claim for an England place, so that could prove to be the battle to watch at Lord's.
Hogan has recently committed his future to the Cardiff-based side, and his teammates know how much of a boost that is to Glamorgan.
If his side is to triumph, Hogan, Jones and Allenby must deliver once again.
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