Derbyshire welcome Leicestershire to the 3aaa County Ground on Sunday, finding themselves in fourth place in the table and the visitors in sixth, separated by one point, although the foxes have played a game less. The Foxes will be hoping to put an end to their recent run of three defeats, and the Falcons will be hoping to build on their victory in their last completed match against Lancashire.
A win for both sides will greatly enhance their chances of being in the final four, for Leicestershire a win will leave them on 10 points and potentially as high as second in the group, for Derbyshire a win would move them to 11 points and potentially up to 1st in the table. Sadly, looking at the forecast, it is more likely that each side will take a point and the status quo will remain.
Both sides have shown flashes of genius in this competition this year, but also glimpses of being distinctly average. They will both be looking to show more of the brilliance on a more consistent basis, a basis which would cement their place in the qualifying places and see them reach the quarter finals.
The quarter finals are somewhere the visitors are used to finding themselves, whereas the hosts are far less frequent visitors to the knock out stages and will be looking to put that right this season.
What happens on Sunday will go a long way to deciding the outcome of the qualifying group stages, and it will be tight: even the bookies can’t separate them. Sadly the only thing that may separate the sides on Sunday will be a dressing room wall as the rain forces them to stay indoors, but forecasters can be wrong, so fingers crossed for a game.
Before the T20 season started Falcons fans were concerned they had no one at the top of the order to set their innings off to a flyer: no McCullum, Guptil or Finch. They were right in they didn’t have any of those, but what they do have is Luis Reece.
Reece has been a revelation in T20 cricket this season, scoring 287 runs at a strike rate of 140 and an average of 57.40, giving the innings impetus, not in the same way as those big hitters, but in an elegant, sublime way a way that makes you look at the scorecard and wonder how he suddenly has 40 of 23 balls. Throw in his ability to bowl nippy left arm medium pace, and his performance is key to Derbyshire succeeding at T20 cricket.
In the modern game, if you haven’t got a hard hitting wicketkeeper batsman then you are about as out of fashion as double denim. Luckily for the Foxes, they have overseas player Luke Ronchi. The now retired New Zealand international gives them impetus at the start of the innings and is their leading run scorer in the competition this season, with 162 runs at an average of 27 and an impressive strike rate of 158. Consider the experience he has in the field as well, and he is key to the success of this foxes side.
Derbyshire have named an unchanged squad for the game and are unlikely to play a different eleven to the one that triumphed against Lancashire on Tuesday.
Leicestershire announced the same squad that lost to Durham last time out, but will be hoping for a different result. They are still without all rounder Ben Raine, who continues to be side lined by injury. They have no additional injury concerns.
Derbyshire Falcons squad: G Wilson (c), C Brodrick, B Cotton, M Critchley, B Godleman, M Henry, A Hughes, W Madsen, H Qadri, L Reece, D Smit (wk), I Tahir, H Viljoen, T Wood
Leicestershire Foxes squad: McKay (c), Aadil, Ackermann, Cosgrove, Delport, Griffiths, Hill, Klein, Parkinson, Pettini, Pillans, Ronchi (wk), Sayer, Wells
Derbyshire Falcons: AWLLWL
Leicestershire Foxes: LLLWWW
Weather and conditions
The forecast for this Sunday’s game is that of sunshine, showers, Duckworth and Lewis I’m afraid. If the game does get underway then it will no doubt be a shortened affair. The pitches at Derby have produced plenty of runs and if there is a game on Sunday then we should be in for more of the same, although with the amount of moisture that has been around there is a chance the pitch maybe a little livelier and have more in it for the bowlers.
Date: 30th July 2017
Ground: 3aaa County Ground, Derby
Umpires: Hartley and Llong
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire Falcons 10/11 Leicestershire Foxes 10/11