Friday, 27 June 2014
Derbyshire v Warwickshire T20
Chasing 9.5 an over, and losing Chesney Hughes to the first ball of our innings, I reckon there's few Derbyshire fans entertained thoughts of a win.
Yet we got them, with an over in hand and while there were some excellent contributions down the order, the crucial factor was the improved use of the Powerplay. In earlier games, we have made between thirty and forty in those first six overs. Tonight, we scored 68-2, largely thanks to a long-awaited return to form by Wes Durston (pictured).
No one doubts Wes can play and he's played enough memorable knocks over recent seasons to last long in the memory. The short form of the game has been his forte, but last year seemed to knock him back a little and this year he hasn't got going. Yet tonight he got away quickly with a four and a six, then seemed to find his latent mojo buried under the batting crease, as he smashed 53 from 21 balls and gave us the early impetus that we never lost.
Sometimes that's all you need. A couple of shots off the middle that help you remember how to bat, then the confidence comes back. I hope it does for Wes, because in form he is important to this Derbyshire side and we're better and more balanced as a result.
Wayne Madsen again played a lovely innings and has proven to all that he can play T20, while Alex Hughes again showed maturity in the quick burst of 24 from just ten balls, before Tony Palladino and David Wainwright saw us over the line.
Earlier, Derbyshire bowled steadily with only Matt Higginbottom taking real stick, although it paled to insignificance against that suffered by England bowler Boyd Rankin. Supposed international bowlers really shouldn't be going for seventeen an over from three and Derbyshire profited from some erratic stuff by the erstwhile England man. At which point it is only fair to credit greater discipline in our bowling, with only two leg-byes and three wides in the Warwickshire innings.
Yes, I know they call themselves the Birmingham Bears in this format, but I can't subscribe to such nonsense. They are a county side and as such their name should represent that. Put it another way, if we ever drop the 'shire' from our name, I will be at the front of the protest marches, even if the Sky commentators persist in calling us 'Derby' for reasons best known to themselves.
Finally tonight, deserved mention for a worthy and popular cricketer in Tony Palladino. Three overs for twenty in a total such as Warwickshire compiled was an excellent effort, while his cool head at the death with the bat was important.
It does make you wonder why he was never considered before this year. That's a plus point for 'Pop' Welch.
But not as big as that win tonight.
Sleep well, my friends...