Friday, 29 September 2017

Gloucestershire v Derbyshire day 4

Derbyshire 460 and 144-0 dec (Slater 74 not, Reece 61 not)

Gloucestershire 224-2 dec and 223 (Tahir 5-76, Critchley 2-21

Derbyshire won by 157 runs

Contrived finish or not, Derbyshire finished the season on a high and returned to Derby with the win points in the bag after a frenetic last day at Bristol.

Cynics will say that it doesn't really matter at this stage and they have a point to some extent, but I would sooner go into the winter on the back of a win - two, if you include the one at Hove, in the last competitive cricket of the season.

There is something more reassuring in an attack that features Viljoen and Tahir, two bowlers of proven class and the only shame is that we didn't see that combination together more often. It would be a thrill to get Tahir again, as the pleasure of seeing a world-class spinner strut his stuff on a last day pitch remains undimmed for me.

I just hope that we don't allow Matt Critchley to become a batsman who occasionally turns his arm just yet, because his breakthrough after tea opened the flood gates. As batsman and bowler, Matt is many years short of his prime, yet his potential is considerable. While he has done little match bowling this summer, I am sure that he has worked with Imran and Jeevan Mendis along the way and will work on his skills over the long winter ahead.

Earlier, Luis Reece and Ben Slater increased their averages against buffet bowling of the finest quality, before the home side chased a target that was stiff, on a last day pitch. Maybe we learned from the early season loss to Northamptonshire at Derby, but there is a difference between the attacks fielded in the games, as well as the respective batting line ups.

Harry Podmore made the early breakthrough with two wickets, one a superb catch by Harvey Hosein. I'm unsure if the Middlesex man has made a big enough impression to warrant a permanent deal, to be honest. Six wickets at 51 doesn't look overly impressive, but you can't always judge talent and potential on stats alone. Maybe the reassurance of a regular place might be the making of him, but we will doubtless hear in the coming weeks should anything transpire.

Thereafter it was all about Tahir. There was more air than we see in the one-day formats and yet the variations were there in all their glory. Three perished to the googly and slider, the former rapidly becoming his stock ball but none the less potent for that. The dismissal of Shaw was a classic of the leg spin art, the batsman leaving a presumed leggie in classic style, only to find it ripping back and bowling him.

And so it ends. An encouraging end to the season, aided by the fitness and availability of an international-class spinner and fast bowler. Yet also by the emergence of a few players who could become key performers in the summers ahead.

I'll look at the summer as a whole in a forthcoming piece, but there are building blocks in place.

With the right recruitment, it could result in an impressive structure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was pleased with the negotiated agreed target of 380. Wilson clearly learnt from Billy earlier in the season. Critchley seemed to bowl well I wonder if we will abort the Overseas leg spinner option next season in favour of an opener perhaps or a seaming all rounder and trust Critchley and Qadri with the spin options and golden arm Madsen?