It’s time to dust off your white balls and coloured clothing as limited overs cricket is back for the first time this season, with the opening round of fixtures in the Royal London One Day Cup, which sees Durham entertaining Derbyshire in the North Group. Both sides are yet to record a victory this season and will be looking for this competition to kick start their summer.
Neither side reached the quarter final stage of the competition last season and both will want to rectify that this time around. Over the winter both sides have seen their squads change drastically, Durham through losing key players to other counties, while Derbyshire have brought in many new faces who will be on show in this match – although one, Hardus Viljoen, is unavailable through injury.
Durham start the campaign on minus two points, so begin their quest for the knockout stage at a disadvantage to all other sides, although this is something they are accustomed to, with a much larger deduction in the Specsavers County Championship. They will be hoping to wipe out this deficit quickly and show the ECB that they can succeed despite the sanctions imposed on them.
The desire to succeed from the other dressing room will be no less either, as the white ball season starts. Derbyshire are so rarely even invited to the evening do, let alone allowed to be the bride or bridesmaid as the saying goes, but will be striving to put that right and bring some silverware to the 3aaa County Ground in Kim Barnett’s first season as Director of Cricket. All in all, it will be an intriguing clash, with Durham starting as favourites, however with the chance of rain around Billy Godleman’s young squad hungry to prove people wrong, anything could happen.
For Durham, Paul Collingwood will be key not just his runs in the middle order, but his ability to either pace a chase or set a total in the first innings. That’s something that will be even more vital if weather is going to affect the game, as is predicted for this one. The ability of Collingwood to help young captain Keaton Jennings too and guide him with his experience in captaining in white ball cricket also adds to his importance to this young Durham side, sawn of several major players from last season. When you throw in his handy medium pace bowling, where he is able to keep it tight and not give anything away, the success of Collingwood in this game will be key to Durham’s chances.
The Falcons have struggled in white ball cricket over the years, especially in gaining impetus at the start of the innings. Last season however Ben Slater gave them good starts at the top of the innings, and took the pressure off lower down the order. He scored 328 runs in six innings, averaging just over 92 with a high score of 148 not out. If Slater can do this against Durham, then Derbyshire’s chances of success will be greatly increased, allowing the middle order to express themselves and their bowlers to have a larger target to defend.
Durham are without England ace Mark Wood, who has injured his groin, and Jack Burnham is out with a broken thumb. However James Weighell & Ireland bowler Barry McCarthy could make their first appearances of the season.
Durham Squad: Keaton Jennings (c), Brydon Carse, Stephen Cook, Graham Clark, Paul Collingwood, Paul Coughlin, Barry McCarthy, Stuart Poynter (wk), Ryan Pringle, Michael Richardson, Chris Rushworth, Cameron Steel, James Weighell
Derbyshire are still without Kolpak signing Hardus Viljoen. Aside from this they have a fully fit squad to pick from, although there may be concerns over how much bowling all rounder Shiv Thakor will be able to do following a slight ankle injury sustained in the Specsavers County Championship match against Northamptonshire.
Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman (c), Ben Cotton, Will Davis, Rob Hemmings, Alex Hughes, Wayne Madsen, Jeevan Mendis, Tom Milnes, Tony Palladino, Luis Reece, Ben Slater, Daryn Smit, Shiv Thakor, Gary Wilson (wk)
Weather and conditions
The one game which has taken place at Chester-le-Street this season was a relatively low scoring affair in the Specsavers County Championship Division Two. So don’t expect 400 a side in this game and with the weather forecast showing plenty of precipitation to be around throughout the day, it is highly likely that the game will not be over its full 50 overs per side and our old friends Duckworth and Lewis will no doubt be required.
Date: 27th April 2017
Ground: The Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street
Umpires: Michael Gough and Neil Mallendar
Odds (SkyBet): Durham 8/13, Derbyshire 5/4