Friday, 16 May 2014
Leicestershire v Derbyshire T20
Teams rarely chase 198 successfully in T20 and, let's face it, we never do.
Sixty off the last four overs, led by the admirable Scott Styris, left us a mountain to climb and despite a late charge, for too long we never got past the foothills.
I wasn't impressed to be honest. We used only five bowlers and twelve overs came from seam, all of them going for over ten an over. Durston and Hughes were tidy enough, but it posed the question as to why North wasn't used, nor Elstone. If we're only bowling five people, then one of them has to be Tom Knight, in the squad but not the team, while Alex Hughes' variation of pace would at least have been something, as well as adding zip to the fielding and batting.
Batsmen line you up in T20 and while Footitt's early spell was good, his later ones were summarily despatched. Groenewald and Clare are too similar and Clare probably undercooked after little match action this year. While IPL skippers rarely give bowlers more than two over spells and change the pace frequently, we didn't - and need to do it more.
Full marks to Scott Styris and to a Leicestershire side that got off steadily and built momentum through partnerships, which is, of course, the way to go in this game. We didn't. To stand any chance we had to maximise the Powerplay and 37-3 from six overs wasn't close to good enough. Chesney came and went, Stephen Moore played some typical shots but got out when he had just got going, while Shiv's parting shot was, sadly, a second ball duck. Durston was uncharacteristically slow, symbolic of his lack of early season form and 68-3 at halfway was a long way from what we needed.
A six from Taylor in the thirteenth over suggested Wes's touch was returning, but by that stage we needed almost fourteen an over and 28 from 29 balls at number three is, while good in most cricket, too slow in this, especially with such a total to chase.
Then came Marcus North, with an extraordinary innings of 90 from 47 balls, with five fours and six sixes. It was magnificent, posing the question as to why we kept him back to number five. Yet with five overs to go we needed 88 and MS Dhoni and Kieron Pollard wouldn't have managed that, even if we'd played this one at Heanor...
I don't know why it is, but we rarely play well against Leicestershire. This was better than the awful season finale of 2013, but a long way short of what we need to produce to do anything but make up the numbers in this competition.
With a couple of exceptions and despite that valiant late effort, not close to good enough, I'm afraid.