In a match that hardly set the pulses racing, Warwickshire chased down a below par score of 247-9 by Derbyshire to win by six wickets.
With their contrasting dark and light blue colours, it could have been Oxford and Cambridge playing out an inconsequential inter-varsity contest. Instead, Warwickshire, four wins out of four before today, sought to extend their lead at the top of the table whilst Derbyshire – three losses out of four – tried unsuccessfully to keep their fading hopes of a quarter final place alive.
Consecutive stands of 34, 54, 70 and 51 for the first four wickets pretty well took the Bears home before a brief wobble saw them lose two wickets on the way to 248-6 in 47.4 overs to complete their fifth win.
Starting the run chase, Rob Yates and Ed Barnard made a steady if unspectacular start before Barnard advanced down the pitch to Suranga Lakmal and hit him straight to Harry Came. Will Rhodes shared a half century stand with Yates before the latter missed what seemed to be a straight ball from Luis Reece – 88-2 in the 20th over.
Rhodes and Michael Burgess played some enterprising shots as Brooke Guest rotated his bowlers in search of a breakthrough. Rhodes had completed his fifty and passed 7,000 runs in all formats for the Bears before Burgess played across the line and was lbw to Mark Watt for 46. It’s safe to say that, had DRS been available, Burgess would have reviewed the decision immediately.
When. Rhodes chopped on to Reece for 75 off 95 balls, Warwickshire needed another 39 off 52 balls, with six wickets still in hand. Jacob Bethell, released from his duties as drinks waiter in The Hundred, played some classy shots including straight sixes off Watt and Lakmal.
Both Bethell and Ethan Brookes fell lbw to Reece who finished with4-43 but it was too little, too late and the Bears completed an easy win.
At the start of the day, having won the toss and decided to bat, Derbyshire made a steady start on what looked to be a true pitch with plenty of carry.
Both Ed Barnard and Olly Hannon-Dalby beat the bat a few times, but it was ten overs before the first wicket fell, Harry Came cutting a short ball from Henry Brookes straight to Barnard at backward point.
Rob Yates had surprisingly come on as first change with his off spinners, but the reasoning became clear when he achieved significant turn.
Spin at both ends was soon the norm – and wrist spin at that – when Jake Lintott shared the attack with 17-year-old debutant Tazeem Ali.
We witnessed the rare sight of Rob Yates dropping a catch in the slips, Haider Ali the beneficiary off Lintott. Shortly after, however, there was the equal rarity of Ali dismissing Ali, Tazeem taking his first senior wicket at age just 17 years and 63 days. Subject to a double check of the record books, the youngest bowler ever to take a wicket for the Bears was Roly Thompson, aged just 16 way back in 1949; but Tazeem runs him close.
David Lloyd batted steadily and sensibly for 65 off 92 balls before he attempted an exotic reverse scoop and was palpably lbw to Brookes.
Tazeem was given his full ten overs unchanged. He showed nice variations of pace and flight and is clearly a young man to watch.
Brooke Guest moved the Derbyshire innings forward and he received good support from Anuj Dal. But when Dal top-edged Hannon-Dalby to Ethan Brookes on the square leg boundary, the innings rather subsided. Hannon-Dalby took two more wickets in consecutive deliveries, including Guest, bowled for 57. Sam Connors fell to the last ball of the innings, leaving Derbyshire on 247-9.
Although more than half the overs were bowled by the spinners, Hannon Dalby and Henry Brookes took seven of the nine wickets to fall, OH-D finishing with 4-49 and Brookes with 3-44.
On such a good track, the Derbyshire looked inadequate; and so, it proved. Warwickshire seem destined for the quarter finals and Derbyshire for an exit after the group stages are completed.