Wakely and his men are feeling the Twenty20 buzz

Northamptonshire Steelbacks will be hoping for more t20 celebrations when they take on Durham at home tonight

Northamptonshire Steelbacks will be hoping for more t20 celebrations when they take on Durham at home tonight

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There is a buzz in the Northamptonshire camp ahead of tonight’s Friends Life t20 quarter-final against Durham.

That is the view of captain Alex Wakely whose side are one win away from what would be a second appearance at finals day a week on Saturday.

And after a strong group campaign, Wakely says his charges are in fine shape for the visit of Paul Collingwood’s men.

He said: “We’ve played some really good Twenty20 cricket throughout the whole competition and that goes for both the batters and bowlers.

“Only three or four of us played in the last quarter-final we had here so we’re all excited and can’t wait to get started.

“Everyone’s buzzing about playing in front of a full house, the last time there were people banging on the boundary boards and the atmosphere was fantastic.”

But even though the County Ground, with the Benson & Hedges Cup and Natwest Trophy no more, will sample the rarity of a big knockout fixture, Wakely believes that staying grounded will be key to any potential success.

He continued: “We’ve talked about not doing anything different and treating it the same as every game we’ve played in the competition so far.

“People wrote us off at the start and we’ve enjoyed upsetting a few people.

“If we’re going to win the competiton then we’ve got to beat the best teams so the fact it’s Durham doesn’t really mean much and they probably think the same.

“It’s another game of Twenty20 cricket that we’ve got to be ready for.”

The only tactical decision that needs to be tackled is who will replace Richard Levi at the top of the order and Wakely stated he is more or less certain which way the hosts will go.

He said: “We’ve got Ben (Duckett) coming in and David (Willey) will probably open the batting so, while Richard is a big miss for us, I don’t think we’re losing out too much.

“Ben was always in our plans to play in the tournament anyway and it’s good that he’s available.”