After a soggy week in Derbyshire, and what looks to be another soggy Sunday, the Falcons play host to Yorkshire in the Natwest blast. The game that is usually an annual event at Queens Park has been relocated to Derby because of the wet conditions in Chesterfield. Sadly, Derby is looking pretty wet as well.
Nevertheless, we will hope that things dry up tomorrow so that Yorkshire fans that are having to travel further than planned can at least see some cricket.
The Vikings are not having the greatest of T20 campaigns, but they have managed to wrest themselves from the bottom of the table thanks to an unlikely victory against Birmingham on Friday night. The side looked decidedly ordinary until the final few overs, when some exceptional bowling and fielding allowed them to steal the win.
The hosts are having a marginally better season, although they were soundly beaten by Leicestershire at Grace Road on Friday. Like Yorkshire, though, there were bright spots. If Yorkshire’s bright spot was excellent bowling just when it was needed most, Derbyshire’s was some strong batting from James Neesham and Neil Broom.
In this same fixture last season, Derbyshire were victorious and this year’s side is arguably stronger all round. They were defeated by the Vikings a couple of weeks ago at Headingley, however and this time Yorkshire come to town well stocked with internationals.
With a couple of weeks left in the first stage of the competition, the Falcons are keenly aware that they still have a sniff at a quarter finals spot. Can they use home ground advantage to push their case further or will Yorkshire’s rather enviable team take another win and put them closer to a finals spot?
Derbyshire’s season has been one of mixed fortunes, yet again, but all-rounder James Neesham has been a constant bright light for the side. His speedy 45 at Grace Road on Friday was central to the Falcons putting a decent total on the board, after all but fellow Kiwi Neil Broom had tumbled. Always cool-headed, Neesham is dangerous with both bat and ball and with the finals on the horizon, the experience T20 campaigner is bound to be key to the Falcons’ success.
He’s often thought of in connection with the longest format of the game, and it’s true that Adam Lyth’s stats do him more justice in this format than in T20: he’s scored just 69 runs across his last four innings. His attitude, however, is unrivalled. He comes to the crease as an opener and fires from the first ball – of Yorkshire’s last seven matches, he’s opened in five of them and of those, he’s got off the mark with a boundary four times. In addition to his assertive batting, Lyth is one of the best fielders on the county circuit. He takes catches, he bowls tight overs and he stops boundaries regularly.
Derbyshire have named an unchanged squad from that which met Leicestershire on Friday.
Yorkshire come sporting a pile of internationals, including Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and Kane Williamson, but Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow are unavailable and Aussie Travis Head only arrives today so he will not be playing.
Derbyshire squad: Wes Durston (captain), Harvey Hosein (wicket keeper), Hamish Rutherford, Chesney Hughes, Neil Broom, Wayne Madsen, Ben Slater, Shiv Thakor, Jimmy Neesham, Alex Hughes, Matt Critchley,Tom Milnes, Andy Carter
Yorkshire squad: Alex Lees (captain), Andrew Hodd (wicket keeper), Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Ben Coad, Jack Leaning, Adam Lyth, Steven Patterson, Liam Plunkett, Azeem Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Will Rhodes, David Willey, Kane Williamson
Weather and conditions
At this point, the forecast is for dry, warm but cloudy weather in Derby tomorrow. Let’s hope that is correct, or those travelling further than expected will be even more unhappy than they have been.
Date: Sunday 10th July, 2016
Ground: The 3aaa County Ground at Derby
Umpires: Peter Hartley & Nigel Llong
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire 11/8, Yorkshire 4/7