Friday, 3 June 2016
Derbyshire v Leicestershire T20
Derbyshire 123-6 (Neesham 29 not, Hughes (A) 27, Madsen 23, Thakor 14 not)
Derbyshire won by four wickets
I look forward to your comments later tonight, in the hope that a good few of you were there tonight to see a win that keeps Derbyshire at the business end of the T20 Blast.
It appears, from this distance, to have been a wicket where run scoring was never easy, Neil Dexter's 34 for the visitors the game's highest score. It was won by a couple of partnerships from Derbyshire after we slid alarmingly to 14-3, both Rutherford and Broom going inside the first three overs.
Wayne Madsen and Chesney Hughes steadied the ship and took us past fifty, but when both went in one over from Dexter, at 54-5 we were in territory that was all too familiar last season. Yet Alex Hughes and Jimmy Neesham (pictured) steadied the ship and took us past the hundred mark, before Hughes was caught to leave Shiv Thakor to cream three boundaries and win the game.
It was a triumph for Hughes, captain for the night in the absence of the injured Wes Durston. He got the wicket of the dangerous Niall O'Brien, seemingly did most of the right things in the field and made crucial runs. It underlines his importance to the side and will have done his confidence good. He's an intelligent lad and that shines through in most of the decisions he makes on a cricket pitch.
Shiv Thakor again bowled beautifully and underlined the length of our batting at number eight, even if not all of the early order came to the party. He is making a fine cricketer and will go on to be someone quite special at his current rate of development. His batting owes a lot to John Sadler's work over the winter, and the interim coach can be happy with a first-up win.
A word too for Matt Critchley. Four overs for eighteen from a lad of such tender years is phenomenal and that is three successive games in which he has bowled well. Quite a talent and some way from the finished product, he can be proud of his efforts once again.
Yet above all, it was a triumph for Neesham. I've had a few letters asking why we didn't re-sign Martin Guptill for T20, but Graeme Welch wanted a finisher with the bat, as well as someone who could bowl him a few overs. Neesham is a special cricketer and showed that.
With 3-26 and that crucial, unbeaten 29, he has proved a match-winner in his third game. He'll take that any day, as will we.
Well done lads. Focus largely maintained and, in the end, a professional effort.