In the first of the Natwest T20 Blast quarter-finals, Derbyshire welcome Hampshire to the 3aaa County Ground in the first ever meeting of the two sides in this competition.
Derbyshire will be hoping to reach their first ever T20 Finals Day, while Hampshire are old hands at this game.
It has been an unusually good season for Derbyshire in the topsy-turvy and very tight North group. A selection of well chosen overseas players, some highly experienced and committed regulars and a specialised T20 coaching team saw the Falcons ultimately finish in second place.
The Falcons’ batting has been particularly impressive this season, but the bowling of Imran Tahir and Matt Henry is not to be underestimated. More than once this competition it has been said that Derbyshire’s bowling just isn’t good enough, only to have them silence the naysayers in the very next game.
Hampshire had an excellent group stage and looked set to have a home quarter-final themselves. The South Group was even tighter than the North Group and all it took was a last game defeat to Somerset to push the visitors down to third.
Hampshire have an impressive top order, with James Vince, Australian George Bailey and veteran Sean Ervine. The bowling attack is not to be taken lightly, with Kyle Abbot and Mason Crane having fantastic wicket-taking abilities. Spinner Liam Dawson tends to bowl the first and that tactic has often resulted in an early wicket for the side. His fellow spinner is none other than Shahid Afridi.
Both sides have strength all round: batting, bowling and fielding. That’s why they’ve both reached this point of the Blast and that’s why it will be a fantastic meeting at Derby tonight.
While everyone at Derbyshire CCC will be excited about the side progressing to the knock-out stages, few will be as happy about it as Wayne Madsen. Having been with the side for nine years, through their few ups and many downs, Madsen has long been the heart and soul of the Falcons’ side.
And it’s more than just experience and moral support that makes him a favourite – Madsen is the third highest run-scorer in this year’s Natwest Blast, the highest for Derbyshire, and his bowling has developed so well this year that he can be seen as a genuine all-rounder. It’s been a remarkable year for Madsen and if his run continues tonight Hampshire could be in trouble.
Hampshire’s leading run scorer is the captain James Vince, who has piled on 431 runs in the group stage of the Blast. A strong hand at the top of the order, his opening runs are often key to the Hampshire innings. Chasing against Glamorgan, his 60* made up the bulk of his side’s 119. With years of experience under his belt, Vince is central to Hampshire’s success.
Derbyshire have their captain back in the fold, as Gary Wilson’s stint with Ireland has come to an end. A 15-man squad has been named but, with the exception of Wilson, the side is unlikely to change.
Rilee Rossouw and Reece Topley are injured and are likely to sit the fixture out. Michael Carberry and Mason Crane return to the squad.
Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman, Luis Reece, Tom Wood, Wayne Madsen, Alex Hughes, Gary Wilson (c, wk), Matt Critchley, Callum Brodrick, Daryn Smit, Matt Henry, Hardus Viljoen, Tom Milnes, Greg Cork, Ben Cotton, Imran Tahir
Hampshire squad: James Vince (c), Chris Wood, Mason Crane, George Bailey, Gareth Berg, Jimmy Adams, Liam Dawson, Calvin Dickinson (wk), Shahid Afridi, Tom Alsop, Brad Wheal, Michael Carberry, Kyle Abbott, Sean Ervine
Weather and conditions
After an up and down couple of weeks, weather wise, things are set to improve in good time for the game. It should stay dry just long enough to get the match in. Derby can expect a warm but cloudy evening, so the bowlers might get some swing.
Date: Tuesday 22nd August
Ground: The 3aaa County Ground at Derby
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire 11/10, Hampshire 8/11