Saturday, 21 May 2016

Lancashire v Derbyshire T20

Lancashire 131-7 (Croft 31, Neesham 2-38)

Derbyshire 132-1 (Rutherford 71 not, Durston 30, Broom 25 not)

Derbyshire won by nine wickets


Since the competition began, there have been few 'special' performances by Derbyshire in T20 cricket. Sure, we have won a few games here and there, with someone producing a little bit extra to get us across the line, sometimes by the skin of our teeth.

Yet today was pretty much a complete performance. Bowling well, fielding tigerishly and then batting with a degree of elan seldom seen in our colours in this format. Sometimes we bowl well, then stumble with the bat; others we do the opposite. Today, in a game that I wrote last night would benchmark us for the season, we set a very high standard indeed.

I really don't care that Lancashire chose to omit one or two players, nor that Jos Buttler and Martin Guptill are still in India. Nor that they lost a bowler after one ball to a nasty injury, because all you can do, at any level of any sport, is to beat the team that are lined up against you. We thrashed them today, end of story.

It was a display that was highlighted by pivotal roles for our three Kiwis. Call them the Otago Musketeers, The Three Amigos or whatever, but they all did a great job today. Jimmy Neesham took two wickets and effected a run out, Hamish Rutherford (pictured) blazed away as you hope your overseas batsman will do, while Neil Broom just played a professional innings. He didn't try to match Rutherford shot for shot, simply gave him the strike and admired it from the best seat in the house. It enabled us to win at a canter, with almost six overs to spare.

Yet it was a team effort. Shiv Thakor bowled two fine Powerplay overs, while Andy Carter did as good a job as Neesham at either end of the innings. In between times, Alex Hughes bowled a fine spell in which he removed the dangerous Petersen, while Matt Critchley was quite outstanding. Until his last ball went for six, he had conceded only thirteen runs in 23 balls, thoroughly justifying his sage selection ahead of Ben Cotton. Horses for courses and the latter's turn will come, but the young leg-spinner played a major part in a youthful - and more than useful - Derbyshire attack.

It was impressively disciplined, with only three wides as extras in the innings, as the home side struggled to reach the fence. A lot of work goes into such displays, work that deserves recognition tonight.

Would we stumble in the pursuit? No, because Wes Durston came out with guns blazing and raced to 30 from 15 balls before being caught. It brought in Neil Broom, perhaps to keep the left/right combo going in the middle, and he ticked over nicely at around a run-a-ball. It was the sort of knock we cried out for someone to play last year and Broom's innings was simply workmanlike and professional, exactly what we needed.

At the other end, Rutherford hit 71 from 40 balls, as only Steven Croft kept a lid on the carnage. What will go down as my Tweet of the day came from the club, saying that you could hear a pin drop at Old Trafford as the Kiwis cantered to victory. There have been enough noisy and boorish defeats in front of Lanky-lanky-lanky-lanky Lancashire fans to make this one quite special.

The challenge now is to make this the standard. If we can do, then a summer of excitement beckons, showcased by our Triwis but underpinned by a fine effort from what is actually a really young team. Perhaps in the next game we will come crashing down to earth, or maybe we will deliver a similar display of consummate professionalism. I know no more than you, but I will savour this one tonight, a win against the reigning champions in their own back yard.

Back to the four-day stuff at Derby tomorrow, quite a contrast, I would think. 

George Formby, Gracie Fields, Kathleen Ferrier, LS Lowry, Neville Cardus, Tom Finney and Andrew Flintoff...your boys took one hell of a beating today.

Your day will come again, but tonight is a good one to be a Derbyshire fan.

Well done to all involved and for putting smiles on faces tonight that I hope are reflected in your comments later.

PS Still unbeaten...


Doug said...

Could this be our format this year? More depth in the batting will allow Durston to go for it in the power play and our bowling might be more suited to the shortest format. Our cause was obviously helped by their IPL bandits but still very impressive.

I might have to cultivate an interest in 20/20 if this continues.

Mark said...

Off to the local in a bit for a few celebratory pints. Great performance Derbyshire!.

Anonymous said...

Great all-round performance from the lads today. The chase was emphatic and hopefully this will help us gain confidence for tomorrow. The knock from Broom will hopefully see him kick on as well.


Adam said...

I echo your comments, I believe that we will be more much competitive in limited overs cricket this year. I think that not only has the team learned lessons but Graeme has got his tactics and team selection spot on this year. I was quite impressed with his comments on Radio Derby the other night when he said that they shall be allowing the players to express themselves more this year. We sometimes forget that Graeme is also still learning as a head coach. Wes and Hamish is an excellent opening pair and they will not always come off, no partnership does in T20 but they will give us a positive start more often than not. I am so pleased for Matt, it is a shame that he went for six off his last ball but his figures were still outstanding and on the commentary they said that he was generating some real turn. We didn't even need all of batting resources which with Chesney, Wayne and Jimmy Neesham in the top six has plenty of potential. Let's hope that we can build on this.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

I was hoping that T20 might be our thing this year as the four day 'proper' stuff doesn't seem to be. Tremendous performance and one that was very un-Derbyshire like its clinical destruction.

More of the same please and perhaps some confidence to take into tomorrow.