Derbyshire welcome Worcestershire, the Sky TV cameras and the forecast of a lot of rain to the 3aaa County Ground for the final game of the group stages of the 2017 Royal London Cup competition. Their competition is over for another year, with qualification now impossible.
Worcestershire, however, arrive sitting pretty at the top of the Northern Group and know that a victory will guarantee them a home semi final in the later stages. Lose or fall victim to the weather and they are at the mercy of other matches. They will be watching the result at Headingley carefully as Yorkshire, the only side who can overtake them, take on Leicestershire.
Derbyshire finished seventh in the group and will be looking to win to boost their chances of improving on this position this season, and reflect the progress they have made on the field. They will be hoping, weather permitting, that they can put behind them the batting display last time out against Leicestershire, where only Alex Hughes covered himself in any glory, and revert to the displays which saw them score three consecutive 300 plus scores.
The bowlers will be hoping to finish the competition strongly and push for inclusion in the Championship side later in the week, as young strike bowler Will Davis remains side lined through injury.
Worcestershire have only lost once in the competition, to Lancashire at Old Trafford, and they will be hoping that the loss column remains with just the number one in it. They have played some excellent one day cricket this season and deserve to top the group, although you do not always get what you deserve in this game. They will have to withstand the pressure of expectation to succeed and top the group.
Hoping to help them do this will be former Derbyshire player Ross Whitely, who is an explosive batsmen that can clear the ropes for fun and knows his way around Derbyshire’s home ground well enough to do so.
The bookies, unsurprisingly, make Worcestershire favourites and on form this season they are right to do so. Worcestershire have won six games to Derbyshire’s two, and the results don’t lie. However, if the forecast is right and the game is shortened considerably, and Mr Duckworth and Lewis are employed, then anything can happen. A betting man, though, will have their money on the team from New Road.
You only have to look at the Royal London One Day Cup MVP rankings to see who is key for Derbyshire, and that man is Shiv Thakor This season has seen him take on extra responsibility, batting at number three, and bowling in crucial periods of the game. He has thrived on that responsibility, scoring 220 runs so far at an average over 38, and taking 12 wickets at an average of 24.08 and an economy of under six runs an over. If Thakor can bring this kind of form against Worcestershire, Derbyshire’s chances of success will be greatly increased.
Worcestershire: When you have a player who can contribute with bat and ball they are always going to be key to your success, and Worcestershire have such a player in Daryl Mitchell. Former captain Mitchell has only played five of the seven games, yet has already scored 183 runs at an average of 36.60 and taken six wickets at an average of 22.83 and an economy under six an over. Mitchell has the ability to take a game away from opposition and Worcestershire will be hoping he can do this against Derbyshire and guarantee them top spot in the Northern Group.
Derbyshire initially named the same squad as came out second best to Leicestershire on Sunday, however young seam bowler Rob Hemmings was added to the squad later in the day. It would seem odd to add him if he is not to play, and add to his one List A appearance for the club vs Sri Lanka A last Summer. Daryn Smit continues behind the stumps in the absence of Gary Wilson, who is still in the emerald Isle engaged in the tri-series against New Zealand and Bangladesh.
Worcestershire have Australian off spinner Nathan Lyon in their squad and he will make his debut in place of fellow Aussie John Hastings, which will allow Lyon to play in the later stages of the competition. The Rapids have also drafted in second team captain George Rhodes to their squad, although as a the old adage goes “you never change a winning side” So, Lyon for Hastings aside, I see a consistent Worcestershire selection in this game.
Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman (c), Ben Cotton, Matt Critchley, Rob Hemmings, Alex Hughes, Wayne Madsen, Jeevan Mendis, Tom Milnes, Tony Palladino, Luis Reece, Ben Slater, Daryn Smit (wk), Shiv Thakor, Hardus Viljoen
Worcestershire squad:, Joe Leach (c), Ed Barnard, Ben Cox (wk), Brett D’Oliviera, Tom Fell, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Nathan Lyon, Daryll Mitchell, George Rhodes, Jack Shantry, JoshTongue, Ross Whitely
Weather and conditions
I wouldn’t rush to the ground for the scheduled 2pm start as, if the forecast is to be believed, it will be wetter than an otter’s pocket with rain forecast all day until 4pm. It will be then down to the ground staff to clear up and the umpires to decide how many overs of a game can be played, if any. With Derbyshire’s battery of spinners we can expect the pitch to be dry and turn, and also if previous games are to go by full of runs.
Date: 16th May 2017
Ground: 3aaa County Ground, Derby
Umpires: Nick Cook and Alex Wharf
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire: 6/4 Worcestershire:8/15