Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Barnard Gearing Up For “biggest Game Of My Life” In T20 Blast Quarter-Final

Barnard Gearing Up For “biggest Game Of My Life” In T20 Blast Quarter-Final

Worcestershire Rapids all-rounder Ed Barnard is gearing up for what he calls "the biggest game of my life" in tomorrow's NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final with Hampshire at New Road.

Barnard played in an ICC Under-19 World Cup semi-final against Pakistan in Dubai when England lost by three wickets in the final over.

But he has no doubts that – if selected – the Rapids first ever home T20 quarter-final tops that occasion and believes skipper Daryl Mitchell's side have the talent to "go all the way" in the competition.

Barnard has played in all 13 of the Rapids completed games in the North Group in a breakthrough season in terms of tasting senior action for the first time along with his England Under-19 team-mate and flat-mate Joe Clarke.

He said: "I can't wait. It is going to be the biggest game of my life so far. I can't wait especially with it being at home and having all the home support there.

"Hopefully we can get through to finals day for the first time which would be awesome.

"I played in a World Cup Under-19 semi-final and I'd probably say this was on a higher level than that if I'm honest."

In terms of playing in the shortened format of the game, Barnard said: "I couldn't have asked for anymore. At the start of the season, I was hoping to play a few games but it's been brilliant and really exciting and hopefully it can continue.

"I'd probably thought more about maybe playing in the 50 over stuff because I knew we'd probably look at a younger side in that competition.

"But to play in the T20 has been great and to make my debut against Warwickshire at Edgbaston was a special occasion."

Barnard is quick to praise the performances of the Rapids in the T20 Blast.

He said: "It has been outstanding some of the cricket we have played and some of the guys have been phenomenal all the way through.

"But everyone has done their bit when needed. Obviousy Ross Whiteley has been special this year and is a special player.

"He is quite unbelievable when he comes off like the innings at Headingley (91 not out) and it was in a pressure situation as well."

Barnard added: "We don't feel like we are going to be underdogs going into the game. We feel like we can go all the way.

"I think if we get to finals day, there is no reason why we can't go on and win the whole thing.

"Hampshire are a very good side and they know what they are doing in T20 stuff but we have got a very strong side so there is no reason why we can't go out and beat them."