Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Derbyshire v Durham T20 preview

Finding myself with a far better WiFi signal than last year, together with a little early morning time while my family are getting ready, I have an opportunity to preview tonight's big game at the 3aaa County Ground against Durham.

On paper and on form it is a game we should win. Yet we all know that such things often count for nothing in the game, especially if the favourites go into it with a blase attitude. This is a decent Derbyshire side, yet we can only aspire to such status if everyone is fit and available, then delivers the 100% commitment that is necessary.

Gary Wilson will be missing from the next three matches on international duty and the loss of the captain and 'finisher' is a big one for us. The former will be replaced by the appointment of Daryn Smit to the role, a man who captained the Dolphins for a number of years in South Africa. His experience doubtless trumped the claims of Alex Hughes, even if it means that his matches will be hectic. Smit has a shrewd cricket brain and others have alluded already to how Wilson and Billy Godleman seek his counsel in matches.

The 'finisher' role is one for which someone must stick up their hand. The likeliest scenario, from the announced squad, is that Matt Critchley returns and slots into that position, leaving Tom Wood at the top of the order where he is used to batting. There's no point in tinkering at this stage, as most people, I think, know our best eleven.

For me, in this game, it reads:

Godleman
Wood
Reece
Madsen
Hughes
Critchley
Smit
Henry
Viljoen
Cotton
Tahir

That would leave Callum Brodrick, Greg Cork and Tom Milnes on the sidelines, with Brodrick for Wood the most likely alternative, if one was required.

As for our visitors, we cannot underestimate them. Keaton Jennings returns from England duty with a point to prove, while Paul Collingwood is as dangerous as ever. Michael Richardson and Ryan Pringle are also good cricketers and Paul Coughlin has shown ability with bat and ball. With Kiwi Tom Latham at the top of the order, they have the firepower, even if results have largely eluded them.

It is a game we can win and need to win. By general consensus, we need two wins from the last three games and the knock-out stages lie tantalisingly within reach, but only if we deliver a performance, in front of what I hope is a good crowd.

We have a good, well-balanced side, with four local lads among the international stars.

If they all fire, we will win it. If they don't, we won't.

Simple as that really, and in a format where one stand out performance on either side can nick it, these are matches where you need your big names to stand up.

Here's hoping.

Good luck lads.

3 comments:

notoveryet said...

There's nothing to fear in this game, other than complacency or a failure of nerve that has seen us lose what should have been easy wins in the past. I don't think Durham have been within a sniff of winning a match without a major contribution from Collingwood, who isn't playing tonight, and they come off the back of two demoralising defeats. It should be an easy win, and likewise Worcestershire, who have had as poor a competition as Durham, and look as if they have started to rest players for their promotion push. However, Notts very nearly came unstuck against them at the weekend, to prove the point that there is no dead certs in T20 cricket.

The biggest stumbling block could be Leicestershire, and I think there is a scenario in which 2 wins won't be enough for us. If Leicestershire beat us and Notts, and improve their strike rate sufficiently, they will get ahead of us if other results go as you'd expect. They may be overly dependent on Ronchi and Cosgrove, but they showed in their first four matches how dangerous they can be when they get on a roll.

My biggest fear, as I've commented before, is Matt Henry. He's managed one and a half decent spells in 11 matches, and at other times goes at 11 plus per over, offers the regular potential to go for 20 in an over, bowls regular wides and no-balls, and is prone to expensive mistakes in the field. With Viljoen, Cotton, Madsen and Tahir good for 4 overs, and Reece (bowling his medium-pace not his terrible slow stuff), Critchley and Hughes to fiddle through the other 4 and possibly more if they get it right, I'd be a lot more comfortable. I'm sure he will play, and offers more as a potentially destructive hitter than any of the three possible replacements, but on the evidence so far, he's far more likely to cost us the game than to win it. I'd also be inclined to open the batting with Critchley, as he and Godleman gave us some very quick starts with some very good running. Against Notts, Wood spent his time aiming big hits and missing with most of them, and if that approach is ever going to work, it's more likely to later in the innings.

David Woolley said...

I agree with the comments that complacency is our biggest enemy. Durham were finalists last year and are no mugs, but the simple fact is that if we play to our potential, it will be 2 more points towards a quarter final.
My view is that all of our three remaining opponents have a good top four, but not much to follow. If we can get wickets early, so much the better.
I would go back to Critchley opening, and keep Wood to come in at three or four, dependant on the fall of our first wicket.
So long as we win, i'm not really bothered whether we'fall over the line' or win comfortably. As they say in football, tonight's result is more important than the result.

Tim, Chesterfield said...

I'm worried about this game. Durham are a huge banana skin as they have nothing to lose and a few players who'd like nothing more than to show what they can do on TV (Jennings for one). If we aren't 100% on this throughout we will lose and that could be very bad news with pressure building.

I'd have gone down early to catch some of the ladies game but a side with the 'Loughborough' moniker doesn't interest me I'm afraid. I suppose it's a good thing for DCC that they're playing at our place whatever my interest in attending.