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Malan: we'll Bowl 'em over!

PUBLISHED: 13:11 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 24 August 2010

LONDON - JUNE 16:  Dawid Malan of Middlesex hits out during the Twenty20 Cup match between Middlesex and Surrey at Lords Cricket Ground on June 16, 2008 in London, England.  (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

LONDON - JUNE 16: Dawid Malan of Middlesex hits out during the Twenty20 Cup match between Middlesex and Surrey at Lords Cricket Ground on June 16, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

By James Callow DAWID Malan believes Middlesex can be a force to be reckoned with at Saturday s Twenty20 finals day at the Rose Bowl. The 20-year-old has emerged as one of English cricket s hottest properties since his quarter-final heroics, when he defie

By James Callow

DAWID Malan believes Middlesex can be a force to be reckoned with at Saturday's Twenty20 finals day at the Rose Bowl.

The 20-year-old has emerged as one of English cricket's hottest properties since his quarter-final heroics, when he defied Andrew Flintoff's Lancashire with a stunning 103 at The Oval earlier this month.

Middlesex play Durham Dynamos in the opening semi-final at Southampton on Saturday, with either Kent or Essex lying in wait in the final, which is played immediately afterwards.

But Malan is sure his team-mates will be ready for the challenge, despite back-to-back defeats in both the Pro40 and the County Championship prior to the game.

"You are always likely to get the odd bad week here and there but we're still feeling really confident and we're on a great run in the Twenty20," said Malan.

"The make up of our side is perfect, with a balanced attack.

"We've got two high quality spinners in [Shaun] Udal and [Murali] Kartik, Tim Murtagh who can swing the ball, and a left arm quick in Dirk Nannes, who we hope will be fit in time.

"Then there's Tyron Henderson, who can put the ball wherever he wants, and we've also got some quality, experienced batters in [Owais] Shah and [Ed] Joyce and some hitters down the order."

Malan neglected to mention his own name among Middlesex's star turns, but the clean-hitting strokemaker knows that he can play a major part in helping his county to collect their first silverware since 1993.

"I'll be backing myself, and that innings against Lancashire can give me confidence.

"I know I was facing some good bowlers in Flintoff and the rest, but I don't really ever feel nervous. You have to be sure of yourself as a cricketer."

If his sentiments seem to echo those of a young Kevin Pietersen, there might be a reason for that.

Born in Roehampton, Surrey, but brought up in South Africa, Malan signed for Middlesex in 2006 after some impressive displays as a leg-spinning all-rounder in English league cricket.

He continued to alternate between England and South Africa, playing first class cricket for Boland in the winter (as did his father, also called Dawid).

But eventually he has settled in to life at Lord's, and while he steers clear of questions regarding his national allegiance, he has formed a strong bond with his Middlesex team-mates.

"It was tough at first, being away from home for so long, and getting used to full-time cricket.

"But [the Middlesex coach] Toby Radford has introduced a mentoring system, where young players such as myself are paired with more experienced cricketers.

"Ed Joyce is my mentor, and he's always been on the end of the phone if I need to talk to him about something."

Joyce will skipper Middlesex in the absence of the injured Ed Smith, while key bowler Nannes faces a late fitness test, and Nick Compton could feature in place of Billy Godleman.

There is an extra incentive to Saturday's finals - the two semi-final winners will both qualify for the inaugural Champions League tournament in September.

It will also feature the top two teams from Australia, South Africa and the Indian Premier League, and the winners will get $5million.


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