After a strong victory against Yorkshire at Chesterfield last weekend, Derbyshire Falcons go into their final T20 appearance for 2015 on a high. Their opponents this week might prove somewhat tougher, however, as Worcestershire Rapids are having a superb tournament.
The Rapids have, barring something extraordinary, qualified for the second round of the Natwest Blast with two games in hand and they confirmed it by defeating Yorkshire just days after the Falcons had done same. That doesn’t mean the side can relax, though. It’s all about grabbing a first ever home tie in the knockout stages for Worcestershire at this stage and the Falcons can expect them to be on fine form.
Derbyshire Falcons, sitting on the bottom of the North Group table, have had an odd season in this competition. They started poorly and improved significantly, but still struggled to get victories. On Sunday, Yorkshire came face to face with a Wes Durston that had clearly had enough of failure and they went home with their tails between their legs.
The last time these two sides met, it was one Moeen Ali that did a lot of the damage. This time, he is busy at Lord’s, taking wickets- or, as has proved to be the case so far, not taking them- against the Australians. Will his absence make a difference? The visitors still have powerful hitters Daryl Mitchell and Ross Whiteley in their ranks, as well as Jack Shantry and Saeed Ajmal to have a go at Derbyshire’s shakey batting.
Worcestershire have made few mistakes in this year’s tournament and they will prove a huge challenge for their hosts, but if they think tonight’s match is to a simple one, they only need to read through reports on Yorkshire’s visit to Queens Park to see what happens when you underestimate the Falcons.
When Wes Durston gets his determined head on, he can be a formidable opponent. A superb striker of the ball at the top of the order and that tidy offspin that saw three Yorkshire wickets tumble in two overs laws, he has proven himself a fine captain this season and if anyone can lead the troops to a final victory, he can.
Former Derbyshire batter Ross Whiteley was largely responsible for the downfall of Yorkshire on Tuesday night and, on returning to his former home, his skill will be called upon once again. The Yorkshire-born batter has emerged as a top quality T20 batter since moving to Worcestershire and will be relishing the return to Derby.
Unsurprisingly, the Falcons line up with the same side that beat Yorkshire on Sunday with just one exception: Ben Cotton has been out with a side strain but returns tonight for this final fixture. This will be Nathan Rimmington’s final appearance for the Falcons.
Derbyshire Falcons squad: Wes Durston (c), Tom Poynton (wk), Hamish Rutherford, Chesney Hughes, Ben Slater, Wayne Madsen, Billy Godleman, Shiv Thakor, Alex Hughes, Scott Elstone, Tom Knight, Greg Cork, Nathan Rimmington, Ben Cotton
Worcestershire come to Derby with the same eleven men that beat Yorkshire earlier in the week, with the addition of Joe Clarke and Charlie Morris.
Worcestershire Rapids squad: Daryl Mitchell (c), Ben Cox (wk), Richard Oliver, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Colin Munro, Brett D’Oliveira, Ross Whiteley, Joe Leach, Ed Barnard, Jack Shantry, Saeed Ajmal, Joe Clarke, Charlie Morris
Weather and conditions: It’s going to be another warm day in Derby, with some cloud across the sky but no rain.
Date: Friday 17th July
Ground: The 3aaa County Ground at Derby
Umpires: Martin Bodenham & David Milns
Odds (Skybet): Derbyshire 5/4, Worcestershire 8/13