The second East Midlands derby in as many weeks takes place this week at Trent Bridge as the Nottinghamshire Outlaws welcome their neighbours from the other end of Brian Clough way.
With neither a coach nor a captain, Derbyshire head to Nottingham off the back of an excellent start to 2016’s white ball cricket. They have lost just one of their T20s to date, including last week’s derby against the Foxes, which took place just hours after Graeme Welch had quit.
The Falcons played some solid one-day and T20 cricket last season, but were unable to get results. It appears things have changed and they’ve got a trio of Kiwis at the centre of it all.
The Outlaws have not had such a fantastic start to their T20 campaign, managing to win just one of the three to date. That doesn’t change the calibre of their line up, the batters in particular. A victory in their most recent outing, along with the appearance of world-class all-rounder Andre Russell, could signal the change in Nottinghamshire’s Blast fortunes.
Looking at the host’s line-up it’s always easy to assume they will have the upper hand. Nevertheless, a similar team failed to capitalise against either Birmingham or Durham and the victory against Lancashire was due to the Lightning being penalised 6 runs.
The visitors will be feeling on top of the world right now and will go into tonight full of confidence, but you could argue their opponents to date haven’t been of Notts’ calibre.
Under Sky’s cameras and with a plethora of international names in the mix, it’ll be a fantastic night whichever way it goes.
If there has to be a criticism of Riki Wessels, it’d be that he has been so dominant in every Outlaws’ innings that other players have lacked a good run out. There’s no doubt, though, that he is in excellent form and is a key figure for the hosts. The visitors have a young bowling attack and Wessels will punish anything too loose.
Like their hosts, the Falcons have a strong opener in Hamish Rutherford. After making 71 in the victory at Old Trafford a few weeks ago, it didn’t take long for the Kiwi to become a favourite with the Derbyshire faithful. It’s expected to be a good pitch at Trent Bridge tonight, so the visitors will be hoping Rutherford can make full use of it.
The hosts have Andre Russell at their disposal, his only home match for the Outlaws, and Jake Ball returns from England duties. Luke Fletcher could very well appear against the side for whom he played a few four day games earlier in the season.
Outlaws squad: Jake Ball, Dan Christian (c), Luke Fletcher, Harry Gurney, Brett Hutton, Michael Lumb, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Andre Russell, Greg Smith, Brendan Taylor, Riki Wessels and Sam Wood
Derbyshire are still missing Wes Durston, who has a side strain, and Alex Hughes once again leads the side.
Falcons squad: Billy Godleman, Chesney Hughes, Ben Slater, Hamish Rutherford, Neil Broom, Wayne Madsen, Scott Elstone, Jimmy Neesham, Alex Hughes, Shiv Thakor, Matt Critchley, Tom Poynton, Ben Cotton, Andy Carter
Weather and conditions
Some rain is expected in the mid-afternoon, but there shouldn’t be enough to prevent a full match being played and on time.
Date: Friday 10th June
Ground: Trent Bridge
Umpires: Peter Hartley, Neil Mallender & Steve O’Shaughnessy
Odds (SkyBet): Notts Outlaws 1/2 ; Derbyshire Falcons 13/8