ANDREW Gale remains hopeful Yorkshire can recover from back-to-back defeats to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast.

The Vikings coach knows there is absolutely no margin for error between now and Sunday.

“We have three games left, and we have to win three out of three. Simple as that,” he said ahead of games against Durham, Lancashire and Derbyshire.

A top two finish in the North Group guarantees qualification, while the two best third-placed finishers from the North, Central and South Groups also advance.

Yorkshire are currently fourth in the North with six points from seven games following defeats to Leicestershire and Lancashire, last Friday and on Monday night respectively.

They are four points behind second placed Lancashire with a better net run-rate, the first separator for teams finishing level on points.

At present, the third-placed teams in the Central and South - Birmingham and Sussex - both have nine points.

Yorkshire face Durham at Emerald Headingley tonight (6.30pm), when they hope to be boosted by the return of Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Josh Poysden and captain David Willey, who all missed the Roses clash in accordance with coronavirus guidelines.

The club are still waiting on a test result before confirming their availability.

“Over the last few years, we’ve been win one, lose one,” said Gale.

“But, given the players we’ll have - we might have a few more England players at the back end of the week as well, I’m still confident as coach that we can get on a run.

“I feel we have played some really good T20 cricket this year. Look at the batting, we’ve made 190 and over a number of times.

“We’re lacking a bit of experience with the ball. We know that. We have to be a bit more savvy. We have to perform our skills and plans better in pressure situations.

“I feel like we’ve played to 90 percent of our ability and lost a couple of close games.”

As Gale mentions, Yorkshire may also be boosted by the return of Adil Rashid and Joe Root from England duty for tomorrow’s return Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford and Sunday’s final group game against Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley - a designated Derby home game.

They have requested their availability following today’s ODI decider against Australia at Old Trafford.

One player who has been released early from England duty is Dawid Malan, the newly crowned number one T20 batsman in the world, according to ICC rankings.

Malan was a reserve for England’s ODI squad, but he returned to county action on Monday night with 27 batting at number three against the Lightning.

He will now be available for the rest of the county season, which will hopefully finish with a Finals Day appearance on October 3.

And Gale has hailed the left-hander’s influence in his short time with the White Rose following his winter move from Middlesex on a four-year deal.

Malan has scored 359 runs in five innings for the White Rose in four-day and T20 cricket, including a brilliant 219 in the weather-affected Bob Willis Trophy draw against Derbyshire at Headingley last month.

“Mala’s fitted in really well, and I like him as a character,” said Gale.

“He works really hard, has got a lot of skill and is very good for the dressing room.

“He’s got an abundance of quality, which we saw in that four-day knock against Derby when he got his double hundred. He showed what a class player he is.

“He’s a great player across all formats, and that’s why we signed him.

“He has a lot of experience as well, and knows his own game inside out.

“He doesn’t try anything outside of his bubble. He knows what shots to play and when to play them. That is the sign of a good player.

“His experience for us has been invaluable, with the knock-on effect he’s had on a Harry Brook for example.

“The way he speaks about batting - be relentless, you’ve never got enough runs, don’t over complicate things. And it’s rubbing off on other players.

“They’re messages we’ve been trying to get through for a couple of years. But from a guy who goes out there and does it, it certainly rings true.”

Durham are all but out of contention on five points and a significantly inferior net run-rate from their seven games.