When the fixtures came out following the announcement of the three different divisions, most Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire supporters would have looked straight away for the games between the two sides. Thursday sees the first meeting of the season between these East Midlands rivals, as Nottinghamshire make the short journey down the A52 to the Incora County Ground. They will, no doubt, be looking to avenge their defeat in the Bob Willis Trophy last season, in which Derbyshire chased down 365 runs to win.
Both sides come into the match on the back of a draw that saw them both batting out the last day with relative ease to secure the eight points for the draw. Nottinghamshire did this without the loss of a wicket, Haseeb Hameed and Ben Slater both scoring an unbeaten 114.
Derbyshire batted out the last day for a loss of five wickets, the mainstay of their innings coming from Wayne Madsen – who passed 11,000 First class runs in the process – and Matt Critchley who passed 50 for the fifth time out of six innings this Summer.
Both sides will have been happy with their draw. It means that Derbyshire is so far unbeaten and that Nottinghamshire responding well to a defeat by Warwickshire in the previous match.
Those results leave Derbyshire in fourth in the group one table on 37 points, the same number as Essex who are in third. Nottinghamshire see themselves in sixth place on 30 points and looking to break a run of 30 First Class fixtures without a victory. If they can break that run and secure a victory, they can move up the table and edge closer to Worcestershire in second who face Essex, currently in third.
If Derbyshire can secure their first win of the season they could find themselves in second, depending on how Essex fair at New Road this week.
The bookies have Nottinghamshire as favourites, which considering they haven’t won in two years and 30 games – and Derbyshire beat them last time out – is a little strange. Nottinghamshire are missing some players through injury and are understandably low on confidence. Derbyshire, on the other hand, are confident and have more of their first choice players available.
With all that in mind, a bet on Derbyshire may well prove to be the better option this week.
Gone are the days of the pure wicketkeeper who could bat at 9 or 10 in the order, and be worthy of a place based on glovework alone. In Harvey Hosein Derbyshire have a player who is an excellent gloveman, but who could also warrant a place based on his batting alone. This season he has been batting at six in the order and has passed 50 on four times out of six innings. Having Hosein in the side allows a balance and allows the captain to select extra bowling options, to take those vital 20 wickets. Hosein’s ability to deliver those runs, and his excellence behind the stumps, is key to that balance and could be key to Derbyshire’s success this season.
Like Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire have a player who offers the captain balance to his side, the ability to score runs and to take wickets. That player is the captain himself, Steven Mullaney. Mullaney is an excellent cricketer. He bats at six in the order and consistently averages over 30 in First Class cricket with the bat, and also delivers wickets at a good economy rate. His ability to contribute with bat and ball is essential to his side, as is his captaincy, which offers so much to the Outlaws.
Derbyshire are still without their overseas bowler Billy Stanlake who is now in the country, but is still in a hotel room serving his quarantine period. Instead, Derbyshire will look to their battery of young seamers for those 20 wickets again. They do like to rotate their seamers and so Michael Cohen comes back into the side. Billy Godleman missed the last match against Durham with an abductor strain, but is now fit again.
Derbyshire Squad: Billy Godleman (c), Luis Reece, Tom Wood, Leus du Plooy, Wayne Madsen, Matt Critchley, Harvey Hosein (wk), Brooke Guest, Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Michael Cohen, Ben Aitchison, Sam Conners, George Scrimshaw
Nottinghamshire Will be without both Jake Ball and Brett Hutton through back and side injuries respectively. Stuart Broad returns to the squad, while Matt Carter and Tom Barber take a seat this week. The rest of the Nottinghamshire squad remains relatively stable, with Steven Mullaney continuing to captain the side and the impressive Tom Moores behind the stumps.
Nottinghamshire Squad: Stuart Broad, Zak Chappell, Joe Clarke, Ben Puckett, Joey Evison, Luke Fletcher, Haseeb Hameed, Lyndon James, Tom Moores (wk), Steven Mullaney (c), Dane Paterson, Liam Patterson-White, Ben Slater
Derbyshire CCC : DDD
Nottinghamshire CCC : DLD
Weather and Conditions
The game will again be played behind closed doors, with the only way to watch on the live stream on Derbyshire’s website which will feature the radio commentary and graphics to compliment this service.
The weather looks set fair for the four scheduled days at Derby this week, with not a rain drop to be seen on the forecasts, and temperatures look almost pleasant for the players, although still expect some long sleeve sweaters to be on show.
The only previous game at the Incora County Ground saw a draw for the home side, against Worcestershire, but it wasn’t a 600 for 5 declared played 590 pitch. It produced an excellent game where all three results were possible on the last day, and Worcestershire played well to bat out for a draw in a relatively high scoring game. Supporters and players will be hoping for something similar in this game too.
Dates : 29th April to 2nd May
Time : 11am
Ground : Incora County Ground, Derby
Match Odds (Sky Bet): Derbyshire CCC 11/10 Nottinghamshire CCC 4/6