If you had asked me before last night if Derbyshire can beat Durham in this game I would have said yes.
They have some fine players and the likes of Blackwell, Mustard, Benkenstein and Myburgh can quickly take a game away. Having said that, I'm less worried about their batting, as I feel our attack is good enough to cope against all but a batsman in prime form.
My concerns revolve around our batting, which has so far failed - there's no other way of putting it. Against Lancashire we lacked a top order player going onto a big score, even if enough made cameo contributions to keep us ahead of the required rate. Against Yorkshire we would have loved a cameo, to be perfectly honest.
For me, one of the top three, whoever is in those roles, needs to bat through most of the innings. Now I'm not sure that Ross Whiteley, good a player as he is, can hold down the number three slot right now, especially as this season has been more challenging than the last. He hasn't got the runs and confidence behind him and there would be greater merit in having him in there alongside Naved and Hughes at 5-6-7.
Perhaps more sensible would be Dan Redfern, a naturally free-scoring player, despite not being an especially big hitter. Wayne Madsen would be another option and I feel that such a move would give us a better chance of a top order player making a score.
Wes Durston again looked good last night, but got out before making a match-defining score, while Usman Khawaja really gave it away. At 43-0 in the sixth we were coasting and had seen off half the overs from their main men, Sidebottom and Starc. Then Khawaja, who had batted nicely to be fair, suddenly thought he was Chris Gayle and went for a shot he didn't need to play.
Usman should watch footage of Tendulkar, Hussey and Kallis in the IPL. Neither attempts the ambitious, they just work it around and accumulate runs, the game plan being for them to be there in the 16th over. They're canny too - watch how they keep off the pressure in run chases by getting an early boundary in each over. If you're chasing eight an over and take four from the first or second ball, it's a heck of a lot easier.
Likewise, the good T20 sides ensure that there's rarely two new men at the crease. Losing Khawaja last night was unncessary, but we then needed Wes to stick in there and he'd gone soon afterwards. There were two new men at the crease at that point and we never got close to recovering the momentum.
So can we beat Durham? If someone can make a score, yes. If not - if we're relying on twinkling twenties and terrible teens - then we haven't got a prayer. I'm out tomorrow night. so won't see the game I didn't expect to be on, but after last night, I'm not especially concerned either. I'll follow it on the club's Twitter feed - which, it has to be said, has been the best thing about our one-day cricket this summer.
Pre-season, as you will recall, I said that Derbyshire were a good four-day and very average one-day side. At this stage of the season, nothing I have seen has made me doubt either statement. While very much a work in progress, we need some of our talented young cricketers to grow up fast before we're anything more than also-rans in the laugh and giggle game.