Monday, 24 July 2017

Derbyshire v Lancashire T20 preview

There is an opportunity for Derbyshire to lay down a marker tomorrow, in a game against Lancashire that marks the half way point of the T20 group stage.

Defeat wouldn't spell the end of our ambitions, in a group that is wide open and where seven or eight wins might take a team through. But it would suggest our recent decline could be terminal to those ambitions.

We need a statement in front of a likely good crowd and a repeat of last year's excellent win over the visitors. It was a game in which Jimmy Neesham, who for me should have been re-engaged for this year, produced a fine bowling performance, before one of the last Wes and Ches shows, with a fine knock from Hamish Rutherford, took us home.

We are a stronger side this year, but the bowling has been sketchy and thus far, for me, only Imran Tahir can be said to have genuinely improved it. Hardus Viljoen bowled well in the first two games, but since then, perhaps with injury, has struggled, while Matt Henry has bowled some good balls but been horribly punished. I know the bowlers will have talked and worked on the lines and lengths they need to be bowling with Dominic Cork, but it would appear they have been missing them. Badly.

I don't see them being dropped though, as one pundit wrote elsewhere the other night. They are players of proven ability and we can only hope that their mojo returns and a home crowd gets the best from them. I may be in a minority of one, but don't see better options languishing in the second team at this stage.

I do think we need to bring in an extra bowler and Ben Cotton could be that man. In previous summers he has managed to hit the wide yorker lengths pretty well and that will be important against a side that carries some punishing batsmen down the order.

I'm not going to predict this one, because I am unsure which Derbyshire side will turn up. As I wrote last night, we cannot keep leaving the batting almost 200 to chase and expect them to come up trumps.

Lancashire have had stronger sides in the past, but are doing well because they play as a team and have several players who can score the quick, requisite thirties. They also have Junaid Khan, a good death bowler who stifled us at Old Trafford and the presence of Joss Butler in the middle order is always a threat.

For Derbyshire to win, someone - batsman or bowler - needs to produce something magical for us.

Who will step up to the plate?


Mark said...

Madsen is carrying us so far, so it's all down to him again tomorrow, as nobody else is stepping up to the plate. I think our record against Lancs at home is quite good, so I'll go for a win with another big score from captain fantastic.

David Woolley said...

Based on the squad announced, It looks like the only change to the bowling could be Ben Cotton. Who goes out is any ones guess. My money would be on it being Viljoen.
I would also like to see Wood getting a game, but again, who goes out? Personally I would perhaps put Wilson behind the stumps, leave out Smit, and have Wood at three, with every one else dropping down one. That's not saying that Smit has done anything wrong, but it would allow us a bit more of a 'biffer' early on without harming the overall line up to much.
I really hope that Matt Henry can get it right for these next three games. I'm sure he will be as concerned about his form as we are.
Like you Peakfan, I would also have liked Jimmy Neasham back this year. For me he didn't do a lot wrong last season, and would have been more at home with the surroundings this year.

Knack said...

The problem with the current schedule is that if you are a bit out of knick there isn't anywhere to go. Matt Henry needs overs and lots of them, but where does he find them.

Nic H said...

I think we give Henry one last chance as it marks the half way point. Make it known that places are up for grabs fir the 2nd half and let's see what we are made off. Another hammering of his bowling then it's plan B. I would stick with smit. Great keeper and can hit the boundary as shown at Chesterfield. Let's be vigorous and really go for it bowling and batting and look for a vintage performance to put them out of site. Come on Derbyshire!

notoveryet said...

I'm afraid that we're seeing the pattern of recent years repeated, with a promising start as in 2014 and 2016 before a succession of defeats sees us quickly becoming also-rans. As you say, Peakfan, a defeat tonight doesn't put us out completely, but 4 defeats in 5 means that we'd lose all momentum. It may be that a succession of matches at Derby gives us an advantage, but it isn't going to help if Henry and Viljoen persist with short-pitched bowling wide of the off-stump, which will sit up nicely to be hit at Derby. As it is, I think we need to include an extra specialist bowler so that we don't have to rely on Henry's overs, or the combination of Critchley, Reece and Hughes bowling 8, and Cotton at least has the experience of doing well in this format if not much current form.

At the same time, I don't think we can afford to weaken the batting. Warwickshire proved that it's not that brilliant when Madsen, Godleman, Critchley and (to some extent) Reece fail. Smit would be the one to go, as he's effectively playing as a specialist wicket-keeper, which we certainly can't afford in T20. As in RLODC, he eats up balls at the start of his innings - witness Sunday when he scored at less than a run a ball when we needed to be getting 2 plus (assuming it wasn't some arcane method of avoiding being all out so as not to affect the net run-rate). He's shown a couple of times that he does eventually accelerate if he's in early enough, but he can't do that batting at 9.