Thursday, 20 July 2017

Nottinghamshire v Derbyshire T20 Preview

The first of the two big local derbies arrives tomorrow, with Derbyshire taking the short trip to Nottingham to play our long-standing rivals.

For a long time there was no real expectation of our lads winning, but now? I think if we are focused and can field a full-strength side, we can handle anyone. That's not a comment borne of last night's euphoria, more based on beating two very good sides earlier in the competition. We have chased down big totals with time to spare and have shown ourselves to be excellent pacers of a run chase. That may be the first time in the blog's history I have written that sentence...

Last night, before he was drowned out by the inanities of Rob Key, Dominic Cork was making the point that John Wright has told us that if we score one off every ball, we will win most matches. Key's response, almost too stupid to recount here, was 'but 120 won't win you many games, Dominic'. He missed the point, in failing to be a comedian, that Cork was making - you score something off every ball, putting away the bad ones when they come and eliminating the dot deliveries, you will score big and quickly. You'll gather I wasn't a fan of the commentary team last night, but Wright's words were exactly those that I have used for the past few seasons, at this stage of the summer.

Can we do it tomorrow? Well, our hosts are, I think, some way removed from the side they were even last season, since when they have lost, for one reason or another, Messrs Taylor, Lumb, Fletcher, Broad, Smith and Read. Such is their strength that they will still field a strong side, but there's not too much between the elevens tomorrow.

I think that we fielded our strongest eleven last night. There are plenty of bowling options and a depth to the batting, to which Callum Brodrick adds. He could also bowl, if needed and, a dropped catch apart (and who hasn't dropped one or two?) he fielded brilliantly. I suspect there will be no changes tomorrow and that Tom Wood's elevation to the side may have to wait for now.

I'm not sure that Hardus Viljoen is even 70% fit, based on his movements last night, but they need to keep strapping up his knee and he needs to find better lines and lengths than he did against Worcestershire. Nonetheless, he is a key component of the eleven. 

The home side? They will have England star Alex Hales to open and we will hope for a Nathan Rimmington-style departure for him in the early overs, in which he will feature in this squad:

Taylor, Mullaney, Wessels, Hales, Gurney, Wood, Patel, Moores, Hutton, Ball, Christian, Sodhi, Root.

Talented? Yes. Unbeatable? No, unless Hales produces another of his special innings. There's no Mark Footitt either, which might be the first suggestion to Mark that he won't get the regular cricket that a return to Derbyshire may have brought him.

There is an interesting battle of the leggies, between Imran Tahir and Ish Sodhi, with our challenge to stop an aggressive top order going berserk in the Powerplay. Madsen apart, if the others bowl as they did in that period last night, they could have 80 on the board by that stage.

Which brings me to my final point tonight. I wouldn't swap Wayne Madsen for any other batsman in county cricket. Seriously, would you? Last night's innings was so breathtakingly good I had to keep telling myself it was Derbyshire I was watching. When he and Godleman were going at full tilt, the standard of batting was so high it was astonishing. I don't recall feeling that way about our batsmen in a long, long time, with, as a contributor said last night, hardly a false stroke.

It could all go pear-shaped tomorrow, but we are ahead of the pack right now, along with Leicestershire, who won again tonight.

If we do win, there may be a few more people sit up and take notice.

More from me tomorrow.


notoveryet said...

I'll take some credit for being one of the few commenting here who argued the case for Godleman's inclusion. The best pinch-hitters are nearly always orthodox batsmen who free themselves up to play more shots, and it often takes time for this to develop. Madsen is a case in point - it's really in the last three seasons that he's become a player who can score quickly enough in T20, and prior to that there were regular calls here and elsewhere for him to be dropped for scoring too slowly. It's always been obvious to me that Godleman has the power and technique to succeed if he can manage the transition from 4 day mindset to T20, and this innings showed clearly that he can. If he can start to do it consistently, I'm sure he'll become as effective a player in this format as Madsen has.

One of the things that impressed me in this game was how restrained Godleman and Critchley were about hitting the ball in the air until they'd got themselves set. I argued the point a few weeks ago that you don't need big six-hitters to reach 60 in the power play overs, and this was a perfect case in point. Echoing John Wright's point, a run a ball and a four every over gets you very close without ever hitting the ball in the air. We'll need to carry this discipline to Trent Bridge, where the short boundary on one side or the other if you're not playing dead-centre seems to tempt players into hitting to the short boundary looking for the sixes that the Notts batsmen are always going to be more practiced in getting.

I'm not sure, PF, why you think Footitt won't by an automatic pick for Notts. He's never played T20 regularly even when he was with us, so I wouldn't have expected him to play now. I can't see any likelihood that he won't play 4 day cricket though, as he's been a regular for Surrey in the first division this year and generally done well despite his obvious unhappiness. I suspect Notts will be only too happy to see him ripping up second division batsmen. You can't help wondering if we'd offered him the money in 2015 that we're paying for Viljoen in 2017, whether he'd still be with us.

Peakfan said...

Just for the point of clarity, any calls to drop Madsen from any form of cricket in the past were never made by me! Even in his less 'free' days he was better than anyone else and remains so. Hopefully for a long time to come...

We agree on the use of singles and the hitting of the bad balls. Short boundaries lure batsmen to their early demise in all forms of cricket and could tonight.

As for Footitt, like Godleman he has improved. So don't you think, were he back with us, he would be in our side tonight? I do and for all the danger of edges, he would be a potent force.

As for Viljoen,none of us know his salary. We have heard rumours buthow often do they meet reality? And my understanding is that what Surrey offered was way more than even Viljoen is rumoured to be on...

Jasper said...

I share your pain about the commentary team peak... and key and Flintoff together are just too tiresome for words. It's often like being in the pub listening to the banalities of 2 inebriated regulars...

David Woolley said...

Another biggie tonight PF.
I have to say that for the first time in years, I am not going to Trent bridge expecting to come away thinking, 'oh well, we ran 'em close, but they are a big club'.
My belief is that John Wright and his team have instilled a sense of belief in this squad of players that it's what we do that matters, never mind the opposition. If we perform and lose, take it on the chin and move on, if we get our foot on the oppositions throat, don't ease off. In short, I believe we can win this one.
Just to highlight some of the ridiculous things said and printed about Derbyshire. Did you see the BBC website, which stated 'watch Brodrick drop an easy catch'. Easy!!!! It goes to show that some of these clowns have never played, or forgotten anything they new about cricket.

Mark said...

We'll suffer our seasonly defeat against Notts again especially if they bat first. They could easily rack up way over 200 with our generous bowlers on display, and I don't think we'd chase that down. Fingers crossed for the exact opposite anyway.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

Notts' 0/2 record suggests they are very much beatable. They have more to worried about that us I think. Another defeat puts them in severe danger of early elimination. And that would obviously be a tragedy.....

Peakfan said...

Agreed David. No such thing as an easy catch in cricket and especially making your big match debut in front of TV cameras
They haven't a clue, some of them...

daisypod said...

wow.what a match this T20 side are really starting to look the biz!.
how cruel to lose chasing a seemingly imlossible target.
but as motm wayne said" this team.are diferrent..theres a real belief we can win now"
as well as heaping lots of praise on billy G et al.
madsen is a true gentleman
and a fab player.
soo agonisingly close..aghh.
but no shame in this defeat at all lads!.
no recent dccc side would have got near that notts totsl..imho.