Glamorgan start the defence of their Royal London Cup title at the County Ground in Derby. Earlier in the season the two teams had a tight finish in their Championship encounter as Glamorgan embarked on a final afternoon run chase that would not have looked out of place in a white ball game, falling just short of the target of 331 from 55 overs. Most of the players involved in that game will be on show again and a high scoring duel looks likely.
Both counties have had a promising Championship campaign so far and remain in the hunt for a top two finish in Division Two. Derbyshire’s strength has been their batting, led by Pakistani opener Shan Masood who has passed the 1000-run mark, averaging 82.61. He will be back after being called up to Pakistan’s squad for their tour of Sri Lanka. All-rounder, Anuj Dal has scored 725 runs at 80.55 alongside 23 wickets at 35.47. They will be without Wayne Madsen due to his involvement with the Manchester Originals. Leus Du Plooy will be with the Welsh Fire, but Brooke Guest has also had a good season with the bat, scoring 822 runs at 43.26. The weakness for Derbyshire has been in their bowling and an inability to take twenty wickets. This has meant only two wins in the Championship, alongside six draws. Sam Connors is the top wicket-taker with 36 at 40.30. As mentioned, Dal has 23 and then Alex Thomson has taken 20 at 42.45 with his off-breaks. Scottish International, slow left arm bowler, Mark Watt will strengthen their attack although he will likely be called away later in August as Scotland play a series of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 fixtures.
Glamorgan’s success has been built around the pace bowling of Australians, Michael Neser and Michael Hogan. Both have 37 Championship wickets at 25.16 and 23.67 respectively. However Hogan has been recruited by the Southern Brave and Neser is returning home so the hope will be that the other seam options step up to fill the void they leave. Timm van der Gugten becomes the senior seam bowler, backed up by Jamie McIlroy, Joe Cooke and James Weighell, who saw them through to victory last year. Dan Douthwaite will also be a threat with bat and ball, while the spin duo of Andrew Salter and Prem Sisodiya, who have served Glamorgan well in the Blast in recent seasons, will undoubtedly see plenty of action. A number of the batters have shown excellent form in recent weeks, the most notable being Sam Northeast, who accumulated a record innings of 410 not out in the last game against Leicestershire. Colin Ingram has also been in the runs, averaging 66.22 in the Championship and wicket-keeper/batter Chris Cooke is averaging 52.27. There are some interesting selection decisions, with the two batters most in need of runs being club captain, David Lloyd and one-day captain Kiran Carlson. Glamorgan won this year’s second XI T20 competition and there are players pushing for consideration, especially after a crushing 197 run win in a 50-over friendly against Northamptonshire seconds last week. Opening batter Tom Bevan is at the head of this group and he boosted his credentials with 80 off 61 balls for Wales NC in the warm up game against Glamorgan.
While batters provide all the excitement in white ball cricket, it is the bowlers who are key to winning matches. Sam Connors has been the main threat in Derbyshire’s red ball campaign this season, but the 23-year-old has yet to come to terms with white ball cricket. He conceded 11.79 runs/over in this year’s Blast and has only played three list A games. He bowled tidily in Derbyshire’s comfortable win against Shropshire in their National Counties warm-up game, taking 3/13 from his six overs and will be looking to continue to improve in this area of the game.
Jamie McIlroy’s only first team appearances this season were in the last two Blast fixtures, taking a combined 5/63. The left arm seamer made his first class debut back in April last year but injuries limited him to just one more appearance, in September. In the absence of Hogan and Neser, Glamorgan will be hoping he can successfully back up Timm van der Gugten, also back from injury. Left arm bowling is always favoured in white ball cricket and he was successful in the warm-up game against Wales NC, taking 3/39.
Derbyshire squad: TBC
Glamorgan squad: TBC
Weather and Conditions
The forecast is for periods of light rain, but hopefully we will see a full game of cricket.
The average first innings score at Derby in the Blast this season was 182, so the expectation is for a high scoring game.
Date: 2nd August 2022
Ground: The County Ground, Derby
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire 33/1 to win the tournament, Glamorgan 10/1