Sublime. Heroic. Incredible. Victorious.
Shiv, by any other name.
When you sign overseas players, you hope, perhaps expect that they will impact on your club and on your team. You also keep your fingers crossed that when they come together, with 52 needed from 5 overs, they will come up with the goods. Tonight Shiv Chanderpaul and Albie Morkel did just that. The latter struggled with his timing - he's not, after all, batted at the County Ground this summer, but he hung in there and produced a couple of trademark blows that helped us to a win with three balls to spare.
If you're young and impressionable, thinking that T20 is all about big shots, I hope you watched tonight's game and realised that there's room for orthodoxy, text book strokes and common sense. Chanderpaul played some outrageous shots - the flip over fine leg for six, the dab to third man for four, the flick played so late past the keeper that he does so often - but he played proper cricket shots too, interspersed with brilliant running that belied his 38 years.
For an older player or supporter such as I, it was the sort of innings that showed how good T20 can be. It doesn't need to be power shots into the stands, good as they are. It anchored a common sense run chase that I have rarely seen from a Derbyshire side. Had we chased 50 from 5 in previous summers we would have fallen 15 short as players went for expansive, unnecessary shots. Eight to win off the last three balls...going to need a hoick sometime soon. Nope. A well timed and placed two, a glorious, leant into cover drive for four and a delightful drive past the bowler for four more. Could Shiv have done it any better? No, I don't think so.
The run chase was stymied by the rain break as you always need a few balls to get back into it, but Durston and Madsen gave good support to Chanderpaul. He could have gone early in his innings when a straight drive only just cleared mid off, but from then on his innings was a delight; a few edges here and there, which was always going to happen on such a track, but a lot of people will have enjoyed that one.
Earlier Morkel and Groenewald did very well with the new ball and had the real powerplay powerhouses, Moore and Croft, back in the hutch before you could say "and all this in front of Sky cameras too". Some may query why Albie didn't bowl his fourth while Dan Redfern took some stick in the penultimate over, but there was an issue around getting the overs in on time. Katich rode his luck (he should have been given out first ball from Footitt) then caned him a little before being adjudged lbw to Clare, a decision that addressed the imbalance somewhat.
Footitt had a match to forget, with two expensive overs and a dropped catch, before holding a very good one, but such is the nature of the player. Like Lancashire McClenaghan, he got carried away with the pace and bounce and dug it in, rather than getting it in the right place and letting the track take it from there. Smith bowled a canny spell for the red rose boys, but tonight was all about a batting genius from the Caribbean.
By crikey, that fella can bat... that sort of innings should be on the school curriculum. It was THAT educational.
Three from three, two in front of Sky Cameras. Who'd have thunk it eh?
In closing, fair play to Dominic Cork, who has said a lot of very nice, very positive things about the club in the last two games. Indeed, the Sky commentators seem to have been genuinely impressed by our boys, which was a refreshing change. I'm not going to mention the 'QF' words at this stage, as there's a good few more battles to fight, but we're sitting pretty at the moment.
Here's to Friday, which I hope is blessed with hot weather and a large crowd. I will be down for that one with my son and you have no idea how much we are looking forward to it. Nottinghamshire will be a massive test, but we have a team on a roll right now.
Great stuff guys. A pleasure to watch once again.