Derbyshire 152-8 (Madsen 52, Critchley 40, Reece 37)
Lancashire 155-5 (Buttler 42 not)
Lancashire won by 5 wickets
At the halfway point of this game, a friend texted me and asked what I thought of the Derbyshire score.
'About 20 runs short' was my concise reply and I don't think that I was too far wide of the mark in that assertion. Apart from a brief wobble when they were 56-3, there wasn't a point at which I thought we could claw this back, as we did at Chesterfield last weekend.
For us to do so, we needed a similarly tight bowling Power play and, after Matt Henry went for 17 in his first over, that theory was consigned to the waste bin. It was a game to forget for the Kiwi, his two overs going for 29 on a surface where most bowlers fancied at least keeping it tight. As his stronger suit, we really need him to do better than in this game, because there are several other seamers on the staff who can go for less than fifteen an over.
Batting first on a slow track made sense, as it was only going to get slower, but to win such games you need to get a total on the board and then bowl well across the unit. We didn't do either today, so, in a nutshell, deserved to lose.
The experiment with Matt Critchley opening worked, and despite the early loss of Billy Godleman (you know my thoughts there) we recovered well, first with Luis Reece and then Wayne Madsen. Critchley's strike rate was at odds with most others in the game, but when he went, Reece was perhaps a little slow. If a batsman is going to score at less than a strike rate of a hundred, he needs to bat through and let others hit around him. In getting out when he did, Luis rather fell between two stools. A steady innings, much like his bowling later, but not quite enough on the day.
At 111-2 in 14 overs, we should have been looking at the 170-180 I mentioned earlier. Instead, only 41 came from the last six and batsmen came and went with undue haste as the wheels on the bus, instead of going round and round, fell off with a clatter.
Full credit to Lancashire, who bowled tight to keep us to a run a ball in that period, but after Madsen's dismissal for a fluent 52, it was largely an example of binary batting, that was reminiscent of too many bad days past.
The ten an over start given to Lancashire by Livingstone and Brown put things into perspective, and although Imran Tahir got another two wickets and most of those who were tried did well, the four overs bowled by Henry, Qadri and Critchley went for 54, and so did the game.
No complaints regarding Qadri, whose T20 debut saw him bowl at one of the world's most destructive batsmen in Joss Buttler, but one would expect better from a specialist overseas bowler than to only bowl two of his allocation. He will, I think come back stronger but needs to, as one of the key men in the side.
It is not a night for weeping, wailing and gnashing teeth, since it is our first defeat in the competition, but it is one where the players will doubtless look at areas where they could and should have done better.
There were too many of those for another mark in the 'win' column tonight.
And doubtless things for John Wright to talk about in the nets tomorrow.