Friday night is derby night at the 3aaa County Ground in Derby, with Derbyshire hosting their nearest rivals from just down the A52, Nottinghamshire, in the Natwest T20 Blast. Both sides have had mixed form in the competition, and currently sit 4th and 5th in the table, with just one point separating them.
A win for Nottinghamshire in 4th will see them open up daylight between their local rivals in the last quarter final spot, but a win for Derbyshire will see them leapfrog Nottinghamshire into fourth and a step closer to a quarter final tie and their elusive first finals day appearance.
Nottinghamshire, who started poorly in the competition this year, have had a resurgence recently, winning two of their last three games, with the other being rained off. Derbyshire on the other hand started well and have lost their last two games, albeit their last by 1 run under the Duckworth Lewis method versus Yorkshire.
The same fixture last year saw Derbyshire defeat the Outlaws at home and they will be looking to repeat this again. With the battery of international talent Nottinghamshire have on display, however, it will be a very challenging evening for the Falcons.
Derbyshire have been struggling in the powerplay to really get off to a flying start. If the Falcons are to set a challenging total then Hamish Rutherford at the top of the innings is vital. When Derbyshire have won in white ball cricket this year, Rutherford has scored brisk runs early on and set a platform for others. Derbyshire will be hoping for more of this on Friday night.
Andre Russell is widely regarded as one of the best T20 players in the world with his big hitting ability and tight bowling. Russell has the ability to change a game in an instant either with a quick spell of bowling, which can rip the heart out of a batting line up, or a barrage of six hitting which can make a difficult chase seem easy or a comfortable target suddenly a very challenging target.
Derbyshire Falcons will be sweating on the fitness of Shiv Thakor, who missed the Championship match during the week against Worcestershire. Early indications are that he will be fit for the game, but they will test him on the evening of the game.
Derbyshire: A Hughes (c), N Broom, A Carter, B Cotton, M Critchley, S Elstone, B Godleman, C Hughes, W Madsen, J Neesham, T Poynton (wk), S Thakor, H Rutherford
Nottinghamshire: D Christian (c), J Ball, L Fletcher, H Gurney, B Hutton, M Lumb, S Mullaney, S Patel, A Russell, G Smith, B Taylor, R Wessels (wk) S Wood.
Derbyshire : WLWALL
Nottinghamshire : LLWAAW
Weather and Conditions
With sunshine and showers forecast for the evening it could be a frustrating one for teams and supporters alike, with the potential for Messrs Duckworth and Lewis to have some influence on the outcome of the game. The T20 pitches at Derby haven’t produced big scores so far this season, but they have produced competitive close games and I see Friday’s game being no different.
Date: 24th June 2016
Ground: 3aaa County Ground, Derby
Umpires: Paul Baldwin and Nigel Cowley
Odds: Derbyshire 6/4 Nottinghamshire 8/15