Saturday, 26 July 2014

Derbyshire v Hampshire - One Day Cup

Wow...now that was impressive!

Derbyshire produced a magnificent all-round display of cricket against Hampshire today to render my pre-match prediction completely wrong and suggest, at least for 24 hours, that we might make a decent fist of this competition.

I was working today and was following the progress of the game sporadically. The early loss of two wickets gave cause for concern, but then Wayne Madsen and Wes Durston (pictured) shared a stunning partnership of 222 in 35 overs. Both made centuries and it was the skipper's first in List A cricket, though almost certainly not his last.

Durston appears to be back in the rich vein of 2012 and credit should go to batting coach John Sadler and the player himself for returning to former glories. That's an apposite word, as there are few better sights than Wes when he's 'on the go'. When he departed for a superb 134, the skipper took over as lead and ensured good use was made of the last ten overs, a period of the game where promising positions have so often gone awry for Derbyshire sides in the past.

Shiv did his bit and there was a characteristically lusty blow from Gaz Cross to take us to 340-5 and leave Hampshire a mountain to climb.

They went off like a train. Fifty in five overs, a hundred in ten but wickets fell regularly in an innings that perhaps redefined frenetic and suggested that they were still in T20 mode. Australian Glenn Maxwell has had a poor spell for them, well short of his IPL achievements earlier this year and his dismissal, quickly followed by that of skipper Jimmy Adams seemed to turn the game.

As so often has been the case, the advent of Tony Palladino slowed the scoring and those two dismissals were crucial, but the introduction of spin saw the innings slowly deteriorate and Derbyshire, with the aid of some steady catching, won by the impressive margin of 136 runs against a team that, on paper, is among the best in this section. Durston took two wickets to fully justify his man of the match award, while David Wainwright bowled most impressively for 4-34.

So are we about to see a one-day renaissance? I think we will know more tomorrow, after a game against a Leicestershire side that has become a bete noire for us in recent seasons over the shorter forms of the game. Anthony Ireland, a decent bowler, transforms into Richard Hadlee against us, while two or three of their batsmen rediscover their love for run-scoring against our attack.

Maybe tomorrow will be different. There's a definite improvement in the fortunes of the senior county eleven, not to be confused with the one that played at Worcester last night. While the championship batting has been of a mixed quality, that in one-day cricket has been fairly consistent. It would be hard to argue with one correspondent on Twitter today, who said it was the best one-day batting display he had seen from a Derbyshire side.

I wasn't there, obviously, but from the tempo of the innings, the way it was built and the way that it was concluded, I can't think of a better effort. It's a shame it didn't get our points tally moving, after the poor pitch deduction from last year, but any repeat should ensure that it won't be long before we're up and running.

Very impressive gentlemen. Well done.

Postscript - looking for an example of the levelling powers of cricket? Last night Ross Whiteley put Derbyshire to the sword with an unbeaten 84 from 38 balls for Worcestershire.

Today, playing for Chesterfield against Ticknall, he was out to Mark Turner for nought.

Wonderful game, this cricket.

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