Sunday, 14 July 2013

Derbyshire v Yorkshire T20

In years to come, Albie Morkel will look back on what was, even for a player with his credentials, a quite remarkable all-round performance and have but one question on his lips.

How the heck did I end up on the losing side?

Morkel took four wickets for just 25 runs in his four overs, then followed it up with an unbeaten 51 from just 31 balls, including 24 from the last over, yet failed to connect with the final ball that would have given us a remarkable tie. It highlighted what a very fine cricketer he is, but the match served to illustrate how much Derbyshire have still to do in order to consider themselves a semi-decent T20 side.

The bowling was excellent. Mark Turner again turned in a telling spell while Durston and Redfern bowled steadily. On a small ground with a fast outfield, 142 should have been comfortably within our range. Granted, we were missing Shivnarine Chanderpaul, which was hardly unexpected, while the loss of Wes Durston to injury was another blow from which we struggled to recover.

Yet we shot ourselves in the foot. As Hughie Green once said, opportunity knocks in most of these games and it is the better sides who grasp it and go on to win the game. We simply don't do it often enough and from a fan's perspective there were frustrations today.

Losing the skipper to poor running and what appears to have been attributed to Chesney Hughes switching off was a massive loss. The situation was made for Wayne Madsen, easily our best player of spin, to knock the ball around and breeze the total. We were 42-0 off seven when he went, with both batsmen at the same end but the team comfortably up with the rate. Then Chesney compounded the error by getting out himself next ball...

For me, Morkel should have come in at that point, but instead had to wait till the tenth over  to get in, after two batsmen out of form, Dan Redfern and Billy Godleman, had nudged the ball around, but no more than that. I know Morkel is a good finisher, but an extra couple of overs to get his eye in would have made such a difference.

In the remaining overs, Morkel only got 50% of the strike, when common sense suggested his partners should have knocked the ones and got him on to it more often. They are all decent players, but Godleman took 12 balls to score eight, Poynton 16 balls to score fifteen and Clare eight balls to score just three at the death. At one point Poynton had five dot balls in six faced, while in the penultimate over Clare failed to score from the last three balls. We cannot afford such torpidity in twenty-over cricket and must do much better at this facet of the game.That bowlers are canny at first-class level is undeniable, but knocking a single into space is a somewhat basic skill that we simply didn't utilise today.

It is increasingly apparent that we don't play spin at all well and for all we have had players go out to spin clinics in India, the ability to 'milk' them around in such matches still seems to be beyond our compass. Look back over the past two or three seasons scorecards and see what I mean. The advent of spin often sees our innings hit the skids, as poor shot selection and lack of footwork costs us dearly. Rafiq and Rashid are decent bowlers, but one got the impression today that they had been surreptitiously replaced by Bedi and Chandrasekhar...

Qualification isn't yet a missed opportunity, but three defeats after three wins have hit us hard, as have the injuries to Chanderpaul and Durston. There can be absolutely no blame attributed to the bowlers today for a job very well done, but the batsmen let us down. Period.

Top marks go to Albie Morkel though and I am sure those who saw it will remember that last over assault for some time. It is a shame that it didn't get us across the line though and this was most definitely a match we threw away. I just wonder if Morkel might be able to play in the 4-day game against Yorkshire, given that we are almost certainly going to be without Chanderpaul. There could be registration issues I suppose, but he would be a useful asset, for sure.

In closing tonight, a word about Paul Borrington's Twitter feed for the match, which was excellent. His comments were prompt and pertinent and it was good to get a professional's insight to the game. It was also nice  - and time to be constructively critical now - to get a series of Tweets that weren't at times rendered baffling by the remainder of a previous one tagged on at the end, where it has presumably been used as a template.

It speaks volumes for Borrington's attitude that he was prepared to do the job today. Just a pity he couldn't report on a win that was there for the taking.

Postscript - in an innings of 120 balls, and ignoring balls from which we lost wickets, we failed to score from FORTY balls today - one third of those bowled at us.


Paul said...

On paper this looks like a close defeat and we can look back at a few key incidents -

Chesneys atrocious fielding at the lake end which turned 2 singles into 4s
Madsens inexplicable decision to give an over to Clare when we had 3 other capable bowlers with overs remaining resulting in 13 runs with 2 wides.
Chesney (again) run out of the captain. Yes it was his call but Madsen was on the back foot and the ball went 5 yards straight to backward short leg.

I dont agree that Morkel should have come in at 3. Christ at that stage we only needed 7 an over ! The problem lay with Redfern and Godleman who couldn't even score at a run a ball!

All this said the result sounds close but was masked by the last over. We were well beaten when we should have cruised home.

Finally what has happened to the Chesterfield wickets. I remember fast bouncy and true wickets. This was awful - slow low bounce and not conducive to stroke making as evidenced by the low scores despite the short boundaries


Peakfan said...

Good points Paul and well made. Just one thing. I wasnt suggesting Morkel at 3. Five, between Redfern and Godleman.

creweblade said...

good comments but i was always taught if it goes behind you it is the non strikers call - yes it would have been close but mads looking at the shot didnt help and then publically berating chesney (although he did tap gloves before going off) defo affected ches. agree re clare's over although i did like the way we constantly changed the bowlers - batsman and batting order lost us the game - we do seem unable to react to situations - on plus side what a fantastic crowd - must have made us a bob or two!

Marc said...

It was a very poor defeat indeed and once again,largely self inflicted. Winning this game should,quite literally,have been a walk in the park.

I have no complaints as far as the bowling was concerned.We rotated quite well and most did a decent job. Apart from Redfern,s dropped catch and some wayward fielding from Hughes,we caught well and fielded tidily. At the end of the day there is little excuse for not achieving a target of 143. We asked Yorkshire to bat,a decision which I still cannot understand and must be questioned,simply because we failed to win the game.

The batting is the real issue and unless or until we get it right,both in terms of personnel and flexibility in the order,we will continue to lose games we should be winning. Morkel should have got us over the line and even though he made a half century,apart from the last over,it wasn,t a very good one. It,s all very frustrating.

Mark said...

Just shows how lacking in squad depth we are. Godleman was obviously a last resort having to bring him back into the side, he wouldn't get in any division 2 sides on current form, the same can be said for Hughes and Redfern. I can't wait for this season to end now, it's been truly pathetic. Mass clear out at the end of this campaign please.

Paul said...

There will be no mass clear out.

Most of the team have 2 years left on their contracts and I can't see any other clubs wanting them so those players are going to sit tight.

Who is daft enough to make themselves unemployed?