Friday, 11 July 2014

Northamptonshire v Derbyshire T20

Derbyshire 191-6 (Cross 48, Knight 44 not, Godleman 39)
Northants 192-6 (Levi 69, Willey 40)

Northants won by 4 wickets with four balls to spare

In defeat there was much more to admire about Derbyshire tonight and encouragingly the young brigade, of which there were many, played a leading part.

At last we opened with Marcus North and after the early loss of Chesney, he and Gareth Cross took us to a healthy position by halfway. Both went within a couple of overs of each other, but Billy Godleman, who appears in the form of his Derbyshire career, batted well from the outset and scored at 162, healthy by any standards but, as it happened, an aperitif for what was to follow.

Tom Knight played his first major innings for the Derbyshire first team and bludgeoned an unbeaten 44 from just 18 deliveries, hitting five sixes in the process, one of them out of the ground. It was spectacular stuff and emphasised that Tom could be a massive all-round player for us in the future. It is to his great credit - and to be fair, that of the coaches - that his batting has come on so much this summer at a time when his bowling action is in the process of being tweaked, hence presumably the decision not to bowl him tonight.

191-6 was a good effort, but even though the home side were short of several regulars our attack looked a little short of penetration on paper, especially against as good a short form opening pair as Richard Levi and David Willey. To win, we needed to part them early but Levi, a powerful leg side player, gave them a sound foundation by the halfway stage.

There were plus points. Greg Cork produced his best bowling so far in Derbyshire colours, while Alex Hughes made up for a rare batting failure with a decent bowling spell. David Wainwright's 3-26 raised questions of what might have been had Knight been able to bowl, but Mark Turner's penultimate over went for more than we could afford. While Cork's final one was shaping up for brilliance after two wickets in the first four balls, the last two went for six apiece, leaving only two from the last.

Turner's disappointing night ended with a wide and the lad's not had the best of T20 campaigns. If commitment won matches he'd do it every time, but there's been too many loose balls in his bowling and a rate of over ten runs per over bowled tells its own story.

So it's back to Chesterfield and Yorkshire on Sunday. A win may well be beyond us, but more spirited cricket like this from an improving young side will do quite a few people.

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