Sunday, 14 July 2013
Derbyshire v Yorkshire T20
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.