Birmingham Bears 197-4 (De Grandhomme 65 not, Pollock 66)
Derbyshire 177-9 (Reece 33, Elliott 4-37)
Bears won by 20 runs
After seventeen overs of the home side's innings today, a betting man might have fancied a few bob on Derbyshire coming out on top in this game.
At 137-3, with Ian Bell dismissed, the thinking would have been a total of around 170, comfortably within the compass of a side that has been batting well.
Then the wheels came off, faster than a pit stop at a grand prix.
SIXTY runs conceded in the last three overs.Six, zero.
The target had gone from challenging, but possible, to unlikely in eighteen balls. A friend texted me to say that, according to the radio, we would fancy anything under 200. Sadly, not for me.
When the momentum swings against you, it is very difficult to stop it and swing it back. The home side will have been buzzing after the late assault by Colin De Grandhomme and Will Porterfield, something we appear to have been powerless to stop.
I am less concerned about Wayne Madsen conceding runs, though the question of bowling him at that stage, as a non-regular bowler, is a valid one. Both batsmen have reputations as hitters, though I guess he has been our best bowler and just had one of those overs. What is disappointing, however, is that we continue to hemorrhage runs from our overseas quicks, from who one would really expect better.
It is not fair to judge players at this stage, but is safe to say that both need to up their game if this is to be anything other than the latest in a long list of promising, but ultimately disappointing campaigns. We have gone from 3-1 to 3-3 in the blink of an eye and although the batting worked hard to the end, we cannot expect them to be chasing 200 every time and no one really got going today.
With the role of overseas professional and Kolpak come rewards, but also considerable expectation. If Ben Cotton and Tom Taylor had gone for those runs we would write it off to inexperience, but players who are well rewarded and experienced should be doing better. Just as De Grandhomme did, as Grant Elliott did and, indeed, as Imran Tahir did, after taking some stick in his opening over.
At the end of a disappointing weekend, we sit third in the table on run rate, one of four teams on six points with the reigning champions and Leicestershire, a side we have still to play twice, above us.
There is a lot to play for and we can get back on track.
But by crikey, those closing overs need to be a heck of lot better, even if I acknowledge a terrific effort by the two home batsmen.
Don't let us down now lads, after all the hard work you have put in so far.