Positive results have been the exception in Division Two and it is difficult to see anything other than a draw in this game
Despite the reduction in the number of points for a draw this season, only 33% of games in Division Two have ended in a team taking the 16 points for a win. Five of these 13 have been achieved by Durham and that is the reason they sit comfortably at the top of the table. Various explanations can be put forward: flat pitches, lack of bowling resources and evenly matched sides, but it means that a couple of wins will see one of the counties in the chasing pack securing the vital second place and promotion.
Derbyshire had a slow start to the season, suffering two losses in the first three rounds, to Worcestershire and Durham. They have also lost to Yorkshire and are yet to register a win. Wins require the taking of 20 wickets and Derbyshire’s attack has struggled, such that they have had to call on the services of loanees Conor McKerr and Henry Brookes. Fast bowler, Ben Aitchison will miss the remainder of the season after picking up a lower back injury and Zak Chappell is only just back from injury. Sam Conners is the top wicket-taker, but he has only taken 17 at 44.35, while Chappell has 15 at 36.66. The attack will be bolstered by the signing of Pat Brown for next season. In the absence of Mark Watt, who is away with Scotland, Alex Thomson provides the spin option with his off breaks. He has 14 wickets at 39.28. Meanwhile the batting has been less problematic, Leus du Plooy sitting second in the Championship runs table with 981 at 98.10. Wayne Madsen has 582 runs at 41.57 and Brooke Guest 570 at 40.71. 22-year-old Pakistan batter Haider Ali has not made a huge impact as their overseas player, with 461 runs at 32.92.
Glamorgan are unbeaten so far this season, but have only managed one win. As with Derbyshire, their strength is in the batting, Kiran Carlson leading the way with 831 runs at 51.93. Captain, David Lloyd has had a quiet season with 275 runs at 27.50 and he missed the Blast with a hamstring injury. This week he will be coming up against the county he has signed for next year, in what was something of a surprise move. Timm van der Gugten is the main threat with the ball, having taken 34 wickets at 24.26 this season, but he has been wicketless in the last two games. Michael Neser made a brief return against Leicestershire, but he is no longer available and this will be Australian leg-spinner, Mitchell Swepson’s last game for Glamorgan. It would seem likely that they will want to sign an overseas pace bowler for September if they are to mount any sort of challenge for second spot.
Even though Derbyshire are at the bottom of Division Two, there is not much to choose between any of the counties sitting below Durham. Given the lack of penetration of the bowling attacks and the strength of the batting line-ups, a draw seems the most likely outcome. The unsettled weather forecast for the end of the week makes this result even more probable.
Sam Conners has been the mainstay of the Derbyshire attack for a number of seasons and the 24-year-old quick now has 107 wickets at 34.9 from 38 first class appearances. So far this season he has been down on that level of performance and he will be hoping to have a strong finish to the season.
Mitchell Swepson will want to end his brief stint with Glamorgan on a high note, particularly with Glamorgan in the mix for promotion. He has taken 12 wickets at 35.0 from his three matches so far and in an attack with limited options, he will need to take wickets if Glamorgan are to pick up a win and maintain the push for Division One cricket.
For Derbyshire, it is not clear if Suranga Lakmal is fit, having played against Sussex at the start of the month. He had injury problems earlier in the season.
Derbyshire squad (probable): Leus du Plooy (c), Haider Ali, Harry Came, Zak Chappell, Sam Conners, Anuj Dal, Brooke Guest (wk), Wayne Madsen, Nick Potts, Luis Reece, George Scrimshaw, Alex Thomson, Mitch Wagstaff, Tom Wood
The Glamorgan squad will likely be unchanged from the Gloucestershire game, moving straight up to Derby from Cheltenham. Jamie McIlroy was rested, with only one day between matches and he will likely come into the starting XI in place of James Harris or Andy Gorvin.
Glamorgan squad (probable): David Lloyd (c), Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Andy Gorvin, James Harris, Colin Ingram, Jamie McIlroy, Sam Northeast, Billy Root, Prem Sisodiya, Mitchell Swepson, Zain ul Hassan, Timm van der Gugten
Weather and Conditions
While the forecast for day one is fine, it becomes more unsettled from day two onwards.
In recent games at Derby, the captain winning the toss has decided to field. However runs have tended to flow and day one may be the best day for batting given the forecast. A decision to bat first may therefore be taken.
Date: 25th July 2023
Ground: County Ground, Derby