Twenty20 Cup July 4, 2007

'We're quietly confident' - Nicholson

Matt Nicholson hopes to boost Surrey into the quarter-finals on Thursday © Getty Images

Despite stumbling against Middlesex on Tuesday, Surrey are confident they can secure qualification for the Twenty20 quarter-finals by beating Sussex on Thursday.

Matt Nicholson, their Australian fast bowler, knows that all it takes is one win: "We're quietly confident we can win at least one of the two and we will hopefully do that tomorrow."

That win could come against the Sharks, who they crushed at Hove. "They came hard with their batting, but threw it away so we didn't have chance to learn too much about them - only that they come hard from ball one."

And if not, then they will have the chance to secure a quarter-final spot with victory against Kent on Friday, also at The Oval.

"It's come at a good time for us," said Nicholson, with a nod to Surrey's dreadful Championship season, as well as their crash out of the FTP Trophy. "It's a good chance to get on a roll. Personally, I'm going all right - it's not a bowler's game."

Nicholson also has another point to prove - his team back home, New South Wales, have a host of fast bowlers all vying for a slot. Good performances for Surrey can help him, or so you would think.

"Well, I've been playing well for New South Wales and that hasn't seemed to help. I've done well for four or five years and I haven't got a sniff, you've got to get the message sooner rather than later.

"So I'm not holding out any hope - but I'm not too worried about that other stuff right now."

Nicholson hardly has time to worry, with all the work to do still for Surrey. Kent have yet to beat them in four years, while two wins will secure a home quarter-final. But the group is still wide open.

Tickets are still available for both matches at The Oval, either in advance on or by cash on the gate.

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo