In a reverse fixture to the first game of the tournament, Derbyshire Falcons welcome Lancashire Lightning and Sky Sports to town. The first fixture went in the Falcons’ favour, but a turnaround in the Lightning’s fortunes has put today’s hosts on the back foot.
The reigning champions had a poor start to the Blast and results have been mixed since, but a stunning victory on Friday against Worcestershire Rapids will have them brimming with confidence. Jos Buttler was a key figure in that victory, but broke his thumb in the process so won’t appear at Derby.
Lancashire shouldn’t be concerned, though. The whole top order contributed to the very quick start that chased down Worcestershire’s 198.
Derbyshire come into tonight’s game after a disappointing one run loss to Yorkshire on Sunday, that sent the Falcons to the bottom of the table and all but squashed their chances of a quarter-final spot. The top four all played by the script and piled on the runs while Wes Durston and Matt Critchley were central to keeping Yorkshire down to just 166.
It’s fair to say the Falcons were on course for a win, had it not been for two excellent overs at the death. It’s a loss that will hurt, because they now have to win all three of their final games.
Both sides are still within a sniff of the finals, but it’s probably a fairly unrealistic proposition for both.
Nevertheless, watching two teams fighting for survival at the bottom of the table can produce the most interesting of games.
The Falcons are proving to have a solid top order this season in Durston and central to it, at number four, is Chesney Hughes. A huge figure, both figuratively and literally, Hughes is an incredibly powerful left-handed batter who, if he is allowed to settle at the crease, can be difficult to move.
If the key to T20 victory is a good start with the bat, Lancashire have the speedy and powerful Alviro Petersen to rely on. In a mixed season for the Lightning, Petersen’s form has been relatively stable. His 34 from 20 in the victory against Worcestershire set up the chase, and in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in June, his 68 was the highlight of a fairly average batting show.
Derbyshire have added Ben Cotton to the 13 man squad that played on Sunday against Yorkshire. Lancashire are without Jos Buttler, who has a broken thumb.
Derbyshire squad: Wes Durston (c), Harvey Hosein (wk), Hamish Rutherford, Chesney Hughes, Neil Broom, Wayne Madsen, Ben Slater, Shiv Thakor, Jimmy Neesham, Alex Hughes, Matt Critchley, Tom Milnes, Andy Carter, Ben Cotton
Lancashire squad: Steven Croft (c), Tom Moores (wk), Karl Brown, Nathan Buck, Jordan Clark, George Edwards, Arron Lilley, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Stephen Parry, Alviro Petersen, Luke Procter, Luis Reece
Weather and conditions
We’re expecting a little rain through the day in Derby, but things are set to clear up beautifully by early evening.
Date: Wednesday 13th July
Ground: The 3aaa County Ground at Derby
Umpires: Nigel Cowley, Jeremy Lloyds & Peter Hartley
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire 13/8, Lancashire 1/2