Durham wicketkeeper Phil Mustard has toasted absent friends as he and his colleagues get set for take off in today's Emirates Airline Twenty20 competition at the impressive Dubai Sevens Complex
Mustard, 29 years old and the club's County Championship captain, will play an integral part for the Dynamos in the Gulf as they take on Sussex in this morning's first semi-final.
The winners will then take on either Lancashire, the MCC or Fly Emirates in the final this afternoon, UK time.
The competition has a star-studded look to it as Lancashire, Sussex and the MCC will field a host of current and former internationals.
But not available to Twenty20 skipper Dale Benkenstein today are a couple more star names in Paul Collingwood and South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs, the county's specialist overseas signing.
They are two players who Mustard believes could be key to Durham's chances of winning their first ever English domestic 20-over crown.
"I think we've got a really good signing there," said Mustard of Gibbs. "Herschelle set the Twenty20 alight in the Big Bash out in Australia over Christmas and New Year.
"Durham have put their faith in him to come and perform for us. I spoke to him out in Bangladesh, and he can't wait to come back to England, where he has played a lot of cricket. Hopefully he'll win us a few games.
"I would assume that me and him will open the batting, I don't think it's too early to say that. That's going to be really exciting.
"It will also be good to have Colly back in time for the start of our comp after he'll have been at the IPL. It's always good to have him in your side at three, four or five to settle the ship if you lose a few early wickets.
"On the other hand, if me and Hersch get off to a good start, he's capable of dominating later on in the innings. I think we've got a great line-up for Twenty20. Now it's up to us to perform."
Today's event will provide the Dynamos with some valuable preparation ahead of June's North Division campaign, with them looking to build on last year's quarter-final finish.
And Mustard added: "I think we've now got a good idea of what works for us in Twenty20. It's just about putting it into action.
"Last year we got knocked out in the quarters, so there's definite signs of improvement. If we can find that extra one or two percent from each individual throughout the season, it will stand us in good stead."