Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Derbyshire v Kent day 4

Last night I suggested that there were two ways that the final day of this game could go. Kent could have batted all day to accrue some batting points, or they could have declared overnight and faced a run chase on the final afternoon.

I didn't mention the option chosen by Rob Key, because it seemed a non-starter. Scoring quickly enough on a slow track to force a win seemed unlikely and the final decision, to declare 117 runs on and opt to try and bowl us out in just under fifty overs, seemed a tad optimistic.

Oh, they managed it in the first innings, on a wicket that had been under covers for thirty hours and would have given encouragement to a semi-decent club attack. But today the sun shone, the wind blew and after forty-five minutes of play, in which Kent had struggled to 30-2 in eleven overs, the moisture left the pitch and it became considerably easier to bat.

That being the case, I'd suggest that Key's declaration, far from being imaginative and bold, as described over on Cricinfo, was less that than dumb, perhaps combined with a hint of naivety and disrespect.

Did he really think, on such a wicket, that he could bowl out Derbyshire a second time? A pitch that was now dry offered few alarms and Stephen Moore and Paul Borrington did what you would expect your opening batsman to do on such a wicket. They batted Kent out of the game and saw the game to an early conclusion.

After it, Key said that the wicket was 'unbelievably flat' after the tribulations of the second day. For me, that makes the declaration even more odd. To expect Derbyshire to roll over and his bowlers to do better than ours had was just daft.

In the circumstances, having failed to agree on a declaration target with Wayne Madsen in the morning, he should have let his batsmen find form. He should have let Brendan Nash make a century and allowed his side to progress, probably with considerable serenity, to maximum batting points.

He missed out on four points that could be crucial at the end of the season. Sorry, I don't think that good cricket in the slightest.

Anyway, we got a first opening century stand of the season, which will give confidence to both Stephen Moore and Paul Borrington. They are players of contrasting, but equally valuable merit and I like a pairing where you have a stroke player and a 'sticker' together. I would like to see it given a good, long run as I think it will work.

Why? Because both can play.

More from me tomorrow, when I will tell you my T20 side...


Tim, Chesterfield said...

I disagree about the declaration. He gambled batting bonus points in the belief he could force a win. A slim chance maybe but one nonetheless. It's a position we can only dream of being in at the moment.

Peakfan said...

That's my point Tim. A gamble is only worthwhile if you realistically can win. On that wicket, bowling us out in 40 overs was never on and he'd have been far better off with more batting points.

notoveryet said...

Waking up from a long and happy winter hibernation full of positive things at Derbyshire, I decided to dream on for a few weeks until the positives started to be delivered.

I haven't given up all hope yet, but it seems to me that Rob Keys' decision was a logical (if cruel) reflection of how our rivals see us. We capitulated in little more than 50 overs at Worcester on a pitch that we'd just been thrashed around for 7 and 8 an over on when all we had to do was bat out the day. Kent themselves had bowled us out for 118 in less than 50 overs a couple of days before. So why wouldn't Keys think that this might be a side that could be bullied into self-destruction in an afternoon on a flat wicket?

It didn't happen this time, but as Marc quite rightly points out, this isn't a one-off. It happened repeatedly last year, and often enough even in the promotion season, for all our rivals to think there is a lack of fibre or confidence that can surface at any point and be exploited.

I'm afraid that we'll see more of this approach from opponents this season, until we can show them convincingly that our days if falling over have passed. The very best that Keys could have got from batting on was another two bonus points (but more probably would have let us add to our bonus points with 6 down) and our track record meant that 16 points wasn't entirely a pipe dream.

Peakfan said...

Nice to hear from you again notoveryet!
To answer your question - because the wicket was, to use his words, flat. You need Holding and Warne at either end to bowl sides out on those tracks.
Kent only lost wickets through misjudgement and slogging. Had they chosen to do so, 350-plus and three more points was realistic.
A declaration was ill-judged at best.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

I was worried when I realised suddenly we had to bat again and more importantly do so with a degree of application. I'm with Key on that one. Fortune favours the bold.

Peakfan said...

I wasn't. And it didn't...

Martin Moseling said...

A word of explanation regarding THAT declaration. Rob Key has come back to the Kent captaincy after a year off - a year in which he did very well with the bat and seems to have found his appetite for the game again. You should also remember that he has presided over the worst performing Kent side, relative to the ability of the players, of all time - and he knows it.
Kent, having resolved the worst of their fiscal problems have decided they need to concentrate on playing performance (heaven only knows what they were supposed to have been doing before!), they have assembled a crop of bowlers to guarantee 20 wickets per match and the messages coming out of the Club over the winter have been very positive. Competition for places, positive approach - you know the sort of nonsense.
After a disappointing start where Kent found themselves on a very strange track at Worcester and the fact that Leicestershire wouldn't roll over time honoured fashion in another rain affected match, the first victory came against a very cowed Surrey side. Kent batted with aggression and, I thought, a certain devil may care attitude. Key and Nash both got hundreds without being anywhere near prime form. Northeast's 50 was a better cricket innings.
So they arrived at Derby with a spring in their step and the pre-season warnings of the cricket committee still ringing in their ears - "positivity, positivity, etc". Two days lost to weather, a juicy pitch to exploit and perhaps Jimmy Adams and Rob Key thought "maybe we can walk on water?" - they couldn't of course and, as Steve suggests, valuable bonus points went begging for the sake of the good opinion of a cricket committee who weren't at the match.

Martin Moseling said...

One final thought - from what I have seen of Division II cricket this year, things are going to be fairly tight with most sides capable of beating each other until somebody establishes some momentum at least.

Before the Surrey match all was doom and gloom at Canterbury, just as it was at Derby with the side propping up the rest of the table - as Kent were the week before! Derby have a good squad with several players who acquitted themselves well in Div I last season and it will come right.