Derbyshire 166-7 (Durston 77 Elstone 37)
Northants 167-4 (Willey 60)
Northants won by six wickets
I don't think Derbyshire played especially badly in front of the TV cameras last night. It was a decent display with the bat that represented a good recovery from a poor start, but we were blown away by a stunning innings by David Willey, the sort that a player of his quality is likely to play.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, now heading for the Caribbean, had a bit of a nightmare with bat and ball, being clubbed for 24 in one over by Willey, this after going in the first over as he attempted to sweep/scoop the same bowler. The shot is like the reverse sweep - when it comes off, it looks magnificent, when it doesn't, it is some way removed from what Wilfred Rhodes used to call a 'business shot'. To be fair, the ball swung, which was enough to make it look rather awful on this occasion.
The player will have worked out the percentages and must score more than he concedes from it, but, somewhat like Hashim Amla, the jury is still out on the Sri Lankan star at this stage. You cannot doubt the talent, nor the effort in bringing them to Derbyshire, but the returns, at least on the field, have been only adequate so far.
Wes Durston batted well, without ever breaking free of the shackles, though he could hardly go crazy when wickets fell regularly at the other end. Scott Elstone played a delightful cameo and looked good, while Shiv Thakor and Tom Poynton played well at the end of the innings.
The total was OK, though with a dangerous top three in the opposition, there was always a likelihood of defeat if any of them got going.Willey took us apart and despite decent spells by Wayne White and Tony Palladino we were never coming back from the carnage of the Powerplay. Willey simply took us apart, though the failure of the bowlers in that period to hit lines and lengths was disappointing. Given the freedom to swing by sufficient width, he carved the ball to the middle distance and with it went any hopes of another disciplined bowling effort. On a night where the batsmen at least posted a competitive total, too many bowlers were off their game.
You have to accept it can happen. As I pointed out below the last piece, when computer issues prevented me doing this last night, at times you need to accept the opposition can and will play better than us. If they do, we look bad. This was much better than the dreadful Durham game, when we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but obviously not close to good enough on the night.
Lancashire at Old Trafford tonight. Into the lion's den, if you will - how many of the side will stand up to the pressure is anyone's guess, but we need to up our game and hope that one of the opposition doesn't play the blinder - with bat, ball and in the field - that David Willey did last night.