Last year’s Royal London champions Warwickshire roll into Derby town on Wednesday, with their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages this season all but gone as they lie bottom of the Northern Group.
Derbyshire still hold out hope of qualification, having played three of the top four sides and knowing a strong finish to the group stages could see them sneak into third place in the table. That strong finish would start with a victory over Warwickshire, which with Warwickshire playing only for pride is a realistic possibility.
The Falcons will go into the game with supreme confidence in their batting, having scored over 300 runs in each of their last three 50 over innings, and will know that any score around that mark they can chase down.
Where the hosts may lack confidence is in their bowling, which has leaked runs throughout the tournament especially in the opening powerplay. This may see them draft the fit-again Tony Palladino in to the side to offer his metronomic consistency to the attack. He could infact prove to be the perfect foil for Hardus Viljoen, as Derbyshire strive to tie down opposition batting sides whilst taking wickets.
If Derbyshire are to stop Warwickshire scoring runs they will need to stop their top scorer Sam Hain, who has scored 258 runs at an average over 50 in the competition so far this season. Throw in England internationals Ian Bell and Jonathon Trott and Warwickshire’s batting line up, and Derbyshire will need to be on top of their game to limit their visitors to a score they can chase, or to keep them below their own total.
The bookies make Warwickshire favourites which, considering their form in the competition this season and Derbyshire’s batting form so far, is a little harsh. If Derbyshire can take early wickets and keep Warwickshire to a score of under 300, or set a total over 300 when batting, they’ll may make the bookies look a bit silly.
It has been the story of Derbyshire’s last 18 months: not enough wickets and bowling lacking consistency and experience. This makes the return to fitness of Hardus Viljoen key for Derbyshire. He adds all of these aspects to the side’s attack and makes them a much more potent threat. Viljoen’s ability to bowl fast, 95mph fast, gives Derbyshire a genuine wicket threat and this will help them to limit Warckshire in either innings.
When considering who’s Key to Warwickshire, your eye is drawn to Bell or Trott, but choosing between them is like asking one to pick a favourite child. However, when you look more closely, the real key to Warwickshire is Rikki Clarke who is truly a three dimensional cricketer. His bowling is tight, economical and wicket taking; his batting can be destructive or cumulative, depending on the situation; throw in his catching which, if he had been cast in the first Rocky film would’ve meant the chicken would not have got away, and it becomes clear: if Clarke performs it generally means Warwickshire perform, and thus increase their chance of winning.
Derbyshire welcome back Tony Palladino into their squad, which will give their bowling attack more experience – something they have missed in recent games. Daryn Smit continues to deputise behind the timbers in the continued absence of Gary Wilson, who is away on Ireland duty.
Warwickshire are still without Chris Woakes, who is in India plying his trade in the IPL, and William Porterfield who, like Derbyshire’s Wilson, is on Ireland duty for the upcoming tri series. Apart from this Warwickshire have a fully fit squad to choose from.
Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman (c), Ben Cotton, Matt Critchley, Alex Hughes, Wayne Madsen, Jeevan Mendis, Tom Milnes, Tony Palladino, Luis Reece, Ben Slater, Daryn Smit (wk), Shiv Thakor, Hardus Viljoen
Warwickshire Squad: Ian Bell *, Mark Adair, Tim Ambrose (wk), Keith Barker, Rikki Clarke, Sam Hain, Oliver Hannon-Dalby, Ateeq Javid, Matthew Lamb, Jeetan Patel, Josh Poysden, Grant Thornton, Aaron Thomason, Jonathon Trott
The Weather looks set fair for the game and, if we are to believe the forecast we can leave our umbrellas and galoshes at home. Sadly, you can probably also leave your sun cream at home too, but it is only the first few weeks of May! I would imagine the pitch will be dry and take turn, however last time out at Derby, there were also runs a plenty, I would expect the same in this game too.
Weather and conditions
Date: 10th May 2017
Ground: 3aaa County Ground, Derby
Umpires: Garrat and O’Shaughnessy
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire 6/5 Warwickshire 4/6