Its Easter Sunday and East Midlands derby time as Derbyshire welcome Nottinghamshire to the Pattonair County Ground in the Royal London One Day Cup. Both sides are coming off the back of a good Good Friday, after both won their opening matches in the competition, Derbyshire sending Northants packing and Notts coming out of a Trent Bridge run fest on top of Lancashire.
So, while still early, one perfect record will be gone by the time the sun sets on Sunday.
To add a little extra spice to the clash, Nottinghamshire will have in their ranks Ben Slater who left Derbyshire last season to join their nearest rivals. He has been in top form since making the move down the A52 and he will want to continue this to remind Derbyshire what they are missing, and in return Derbyshire will want to dismiss him early – and ultimately win – to show him life goes on without him.
Slater isn’t alone in having played for both sides, with Luke Fletcher having represented Derbyshire previously while on loan and Anuj Dal, who was released by Nottinghamshire last season, is now a Derbyshire player although unlikely to feature.
When looking at the two squads on paper, most people will be expecting a Nottinghamshire victory. They scored over 400 runs against a strong Lancashire last time out, and then defended that total. Couple that with Derbyshire failing to beat them in three white ball attempts last year, once in this competition and twice in T20, and it is easy to see why Nottinghamshire will start as favourites.
However, Derbyshire are yet to lose this season and are brimming with confidence. They have a young and hungry side sprinkled with experience to guide them, and will be looking to tear up that piece of paper and cause an upset.
When you are facing a side that racked up over 400 runs in their last match, all of Derbyshire’s bowlers will be key. But bowling at the beginning of the innings and at the death will be most important, and Ravi Rampaulwill do both for Derbyshire. Rampaul has come back this summer a different bowler to the one that Derbyshire fans saw last year and he has impressed. He looks sharp, has troubled batsmen with his pace and can bowl a devilish Yorker. If Rampaul can keep their openers quiet, and the death overs as quiet as the dead, then Derbyshire stand a much higher chance of victory.
Everywhere you look in Nottinghamshire’s side you can see players who are potentially central to their success: Samit Patel, Steven Mullaney, James Pattinson, Joe Clarke, Jake Ball, Ben Slater. ButTom Moores’ batting since the retirement of Chris Read has been a revelation. He is the perfect finisher to an innings, he can press the accelerator and clear the ropes with ease or find the gaps to rotate the strike. His keeping has also been excellent and with a bowling attack of Ball, Pattinson and Fletcher creating chances, you have to have someone capable of taking those chances and in Moores they have someone who can and does.
As expected, Derbyshire have named an unchanged squad from the one that was victorious on Friday, with the starting eleven plus Sam Conners, Alfie Gleadall and Anuj Dal. If there is a change to the eleven, then it may be to play Conners or Gleadall in place of Mark Watt depending on how the pitch looks. Watt bowled only 4 overs against Northants and, with other spin options in the side in Matt Critchley and Wayne Madsen, he may be the one to make way if a change is required.
Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman (c), Luis Reece, Wayne Madsen,Tom Lace, Alex Hughes, Leus du Plooy, Harvey Hosein (wk), Matt Critchley, Anuj Dal, Logan van Beek, Sam Conners, Mark Watt, Ravi Rampaul, Alfie Gleadall
Nottinghamshire have also announced an unchanged squad for Sunday. The eleven on the field will be joined by Matt Carter, Luke Wood and Chris Nash, who I expect to again be undertaking 12thman duties. The squad will again be without Alex Hales due to personal issues, Harry Gurney has IPL commitments and Paul Coughlin is out with a finger injury. However, it is still a mightily impressive squad.
Nottinghamshire squad: Steven Mullaney (c), Jake Ball, Matthew Carter, Zak Chappell, Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett, Luke Fletcher, Jake Libby, Tom Moores (wk), Chris Nash, Samit Patel, James Pattinson, Ben Slater, Luke Wood
Weather and conditions
As the country basks in glorious sunshine over this Easter weekend, Derby is no different on Sunday, with sunshine forecast all day and temperatures predicted to reach 22 degrees. You will need your sun cream, hats and sun glasses for a day watching this East Midlands derby.
The pitch for the previous match on Friday offered something for the bowlers and kept the batsmen on their toes – never feeling they’re completely in, but also giving value for shots. I doubt they will use the same strip, so expect a fresh track with more pace and bounce and hopefully runs too.
Date: 21stApril 2019
Ground: Pattonair County Ground, Derby
Odds (Sky Bet): Derbyshire 11/8, Nottinghamshire 4/7