It’s second against fifth this week as unbeaten Derbyshire make the short journey down the A52 to Trent Bridge to face local rivals Nottinghamshire. You would imagine being unbeaten means that it is the visitors in second place in the table, however it is in fact the hosts, who despite having a loss against their name find themselves in second place with 84 points from five matches. The 79 points Derbyshire have accrued sees them in fifth and just two points off Glamorgan in third who along with Durham in fourth have played a game more. For Notts, it is a gap of nine points to Middlesex in first place, who like the Outlaws have completed five matches so far this season. Both sides will be hoping for a good showing this week and come Monday morning to have improved their position in the table.
For the home side the runs have been spread around, with skipper Stephen Mullaney, Ben Slater and Ben Duckett all contributing with the bat. The home side will be looking for more of the same again this week after Mullaney scored a brilliant second innings hundred to go with 92 in the first innings last time out as his side drew with table topping Middlesex.
For Derbyshire overseas player Shan Masood has been phenomenal, coupled with the resurgence of Wayne Madsen and emergence of Brooke Guest, runs have not been a problem. In fact Masood could pass 1000 runs for the season if he scores 174 more runs in the upcoming match.
In the bowling attack Nottinghamshire have an embarrassment of riches and those riches take the form of world class seam bowlers in Broad, Pattinson and Paterson, throw in the ever dependable Luke Fletcher and you have a seam bowling attack to get any captain salivating. However it has been the dominance of a slow left arm bowler which has really caught the eye for Notts this season, as Liam Patterson-White has taken 19 wickets at a shade over 21 and is the best performing spinner in Division Two. His only rival in both divisions is the much fancied, yet often ignored Matt Parkinson. Derbyshire have also seen the rise of a young bowler, but this one is an exciting seam bowler in Sam Connors who has taken 21 wickets on some very flat pitches. His average of 37 and a half does not do his performances justice. There will also be the overseas influence of Suranga Lakmal and also loan signing Liam Hurt who goes straight into the squad after Tuesday’s signing from Lancashire.
This should be a close competitive game, which on paper the home side should win, but games aren’t played on paper with a pen for a bat and Derbyshire will be hoping to keep their unbeaten run going as we head into the County Championship break.
For Nottinghamshire, in a bowling attack of Broad, Pattinson and Paterson, any normal human being may feel inadequate, but not Luke Fletcher, he knows he belongs in their illustrious company and performs like he knows too. He isn’t flashy, he is the workman-like bowler who puts in the hard yards while the show ponies graze at third man. Every team needs one, and in Fletcher Notts have an exceptional one too. He also contributes with the bat, scoring two half centuries last match, one batting at number 11 in the first innings and one opening the batting as night watchman in the second innings, the only time this has ever been done in the history of First Class cricket. He is an all round cricketer who doesn’t get the plaudits for his performances on the field as much as he should, but when he performs Notts often win and this week should be no different.
Derbyshire In a season where Masood has scored runs along with Madsen returning to form Leus DuPlooy may have flown under the radar of some. He may have only scored 212 runs, but he has only batted six times and is averaging 53. He has the ability to score quickly and take the game away from teams, an asset which may well be required at Trent Bridge to try and force a result. He also bowls useful left arm finger spin and can be thrown the ball as a bit of a golden arm. If we see DuPlooy have a great game, then usually Derbyshire have a great game and their win chances improve no end.
Nottinghamshire Despite his return to the England squad, Stuart Broad is named in the Notts 13 for this game. Joey Evison misses out.
Nottinghamshire squad: Steven Mullaney (c), Stuart Broad, Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett, Luke Fletcher, Haseeb Hameed, Brett Hutoon, Lyndon James, Tom Moores (wk), Dane Paterson, Liam Patterson-White, James Pattinson, Ben Slater
The only change expected in the Derbyshire squad is the once again injured Ryan Sidebottom who has returned to Warwickshire being replaced by Liam Hurt signed on a short term loan deal from Lancashire. With the second eleven focusing on T20 this week, few will have pushed their claims for a red ball recall.
Derbyshire squad: Billy Godleman (c), Shan Masood, Luis Reece, Leus du Plooy, Wayne Madsen, Brooke Guest (wk), Alex Thomson, Anuj Dal, Alex Hughes, Suranga Lakmal, Sam Conners’ Nick Potts, Liam Hurt
Weather and Conditions
The weather looks set fair for the most part of this game, there is a slight chance of rain forecast for late on the afternoon of Friday, but apart from that it should be shirt sleeve order and don’t forget your sun cream in Nottingham this week.
Date: 19th May – 22nd May
Time: 11.00 am
Ground: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Odds (SkyBet): Nottinghamshire 4/11 Derbyshire 2/1