The Natwest T20 Blast is heading toward its final days and the North Group is still very tight. The only two sides never to reach Finals Day meet each other this week, with both sides needing a victory to go through to the next round.
Derbyshire beat the Rapids in the reverse fixture and are coming off an impressive T20 win against champions Lancashire last week. The Falcons’ batting has improved as the tournament has progressed, and their top order is starting to look formidable with the likes of Wes Durston, Hamish Rutherford and Chesney Hughes all beginning to fire.
Worcestershire are also coming off a victory, having beaten Birmingham by five wickets last Friday night. They boast the skills of Daryl Mitchell and former Falcon Ross Whiteley, both of whom made significant runs last week, as well as pace-man Joe Leach who is the highest wicket-taker in the competition to date.
With the weather forecast looking bad, we might have a reduced overs match and the toss could be very significant. Come August, neither side will want to find themselves the only side to never reach Finals day – this could be an interesting evening.
Consistently plundering the opposition in this year’s tournament, Hamish Rutherford has become the centre of Derbyshire’s top order and the man you don’t want to let “get away”. Just as his 47 got last week’s chase off to a strong start, the powerful Kiwi has frequently been the man to anchor a Falcons innings.
Joe Leach is the man with the most wickets in the Blast to date and, with the weather looking rather bowler friendly; he could be central to Worcestershire’s attack once again.
Also showing proficiency with the bat, Leach hasn’t made as many runs as he would have liked this year but with a quarter finals spot up for grabs, he might see a turnaround.
Derbyshire have named a 15-man squad to face the Rapids tonight, including a couple of different faces. Tony Palladino is included for the first time this season and Billy Godleman and Will Davis may also get the nod.
Derbyshire squad: Wes Durston (captain), Neil Broom, Ben Cotton, Matt Critchley, Will Davis, Bolly Godleman, Harvey Hosein (wicket-keeper), Alex Hughes, Chesney Hughes, Wayne Madsen, Jimmy Neesham, Tony Palladino, Hamish Rutherford, Ben Slater, Shiv Thakor
Worcetershire squad: TBA
Weather and conditions
After a few hot days in Derby, the weather is finally set to break – just in time for the cricket! Rain is forecast for tomorrow evening, but if things do stay dry the overcast and somewhat close conditions could favour the bowlers.
Date: Friday 22nd July
Ground: The 3aaa County Ground at Derby
Umpires: Rob Bailey & Billy Taylor
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire Evens, Worcestershire 4/5