Thursday, 22 August 2013

Derbyshire v Middlesex day 3

If ever a game is set up for a thrilling finale, this is it. Middlesex need what appears a daunting 272 more runs to win, while we need eight wickets on what seems set fair from a weather perspective.

For a third successive day, this was a marvelous effort by Derbyshire. They didn't prevent Middlesex from passing the follow-on target, but they weren't likely to enforce it anyway, with the wicket starting to offer variations in bounce that will be welcome on the last day. That all three seamers had three wickets each speaks volumes for the team approach and ethic that has been evident in the last two matches. The return of the positive, fearless cricket of 2012 is welcome and might just have come at the right time.

Batting wasn't easy and wickets went at regular intervals. The two stands were between Shiv Chanderpaul and Richard Johnson, then Johnson and Alex Hughes. All three contributions in the context of the game were priceless and I am more than happy to confirm that Johnson thoroughly vindicated his selection in the middle order with a an innings of grit and skill. It was a top effort and may just be the innings that wins the match.

There's some work to do before then, though. Robson and Voges are players of the highest class and Morgan, Dexter, Berg and Simpson will fight all the way. The game could go either way, but for Middlesex to win one of those players has to play brilliantly and Derbyshire bowl much worse than they did in the first innings. Disciplined bowling - control of line and length with no freebies from extras - will be key to Derbyshire achieving a second successive win.

We could have lived without a late injury scare for Tim Groenewald, but evening tweets suggest he will be fine tomorrow.

We're off the bottom of the table tonight. Tomorrow we could even - if only fleetingly - be out of the bottom two.

There were long odds on that, two games ago.

5 comments:

the cardboard lung said...

The excellent last spell looks like the most crucial in a long time, especially after what reads like a largely poor second innings. Its ours to win. Great blog , by the way, the only reliable and intelligent coverage available.

notoveryet said...

I'm certainly not going to pour cold water on a marvellous fighting performance, and it's hard to criticise an approach that has got us into a position we would scarcely have dreamed of three days ago, and would have been certified insane for if we had anticipated it three weeks ago.
We should win from this position, as 296 will take some getting on a deteriorating wicket, and Middlesex have no track record this season of good fourth innings scores - their best is 165-6 though in fairness they've usually been chasing less than 100.

However, we have two experienced quick bowlers (one with a dodgy ankle from the sound of it), two novice medium pacers, and a novice spinner. It might get us through again (and possibly should) but it feels as if we might be one tweak of a muscle by Groenewald or Footitt, or a loss of nerve under the weight of expectation from one of the youngsters for us to lose this one. Even if it gets us through it, we can't expect this paper-thin attack to get us through the next few matches, particularly if Wayne Madsen's golden run comes to an end, and need to add some more experience to it. Neither Palladino or wainwright have been knocking over Durham in the second XI game, but I'd feel a lot more confident if one or other was on the field at Derby tomorrow.

A couple of other points. Notts look very likely to lose to Yorkshire, and if we win, they'll only be 23 points ahead of us. How satisfying would it be if they are about to get pulled into a four way relegation battle with us? And I wonder whether Finn thinks his journey yesterday for a single wicket and two ducks in a single day was worth it? This mid-match substitution always feels unfair, and more days like this might make teams think twice about doing it.

Peakfan said...

Thanks for the kind comment Cardboard Lung.
Notoveryet, you're right and Timmy G is crucial to our prospects and we're not awash with fit and/or firing replacements. It will need a big effort for sure.
And yes - a lot of satisfaction to be had from Notts plight...

Marc said...

This match is begging to be won and if we can do it then we really are in with a chance of pulling off what many,including me,would see as a minor miracle.

Johnson,s second innings runs could be crucial but we need to keep things tight,bowl with discipline and hold our catches. Middlesex are not out of this yet and we need to remember that.

I think Notoveryet has a valid point and whilst it might be argued the younger players have given the side a much needed lift,I do think Krikk has to keep a very close eye on who he picks. As Kenny Rogers once said in "The Gambler" some years ago, "It,s knowing when to walk away and knowing when to run".

Higginbottom has performed beyond most people,s expectations and Burgoyne has bowled tidily but I would question whether they are capable of giving the sort of bowling performances we may need at this crucial stage of the season. Neither have done themselves any harm at all but irrespective of how they may perform today,I do feel we would be wise to revert back to more senior players.

I advocated we leave Palladino out for this match. The risk was not worth it,but assuming he plays some cricket in the meantime we must include him in the next championship game. Similarly,with pitches offering spin,we should be looking to bring Wainwright back into the fold.

It,s not an easy decision for Krikken but I do think we,ve pushed our luck about as far as we reasonably dare and there is a serious danger the wheels could fall off spectacularly if we are not careful. I,m sure Krikken is fully aware of all this and after today he has a few days to think about it. We absolutely must win this game and put pressure on those around us. Lets get this job done and then we can worry about the future afterwards.

Anonymous said...

re the mid-match substitution, how many times has that happened to us this season? I've lost count.

Also, let me second Cardboard Lung's (splendid name!) assessment of your blog. Absolutely spot on.

Chris H (Phoenix)