Match Preview: Lancashire vs Derbyshire
With three matches left of the 2019 season, Lancashire are targeting Specsavers County Championship promotion with a win against Derbyshire this week
Lancashire could win promotion this week and even the Specsavers County Championship Division Two title - the first task being simpler than the latter.
The Red Rose need a maximum of 24 points - the haul for a full bonus points win - from their three remaining games to secure an immediate return to Division One.
If they are to win the title during this round of fixtures, they would need to get 20 points more from this round than second-placed Gloucestershire (who play Sussex at home), six more than Northants in third (who travel to Leicestershire) and one more than Glamorgan in fourth (they travel to Worcestershire).
They face a Derbyshire side who are eighth in the table and all but out of the race for the top three places and promotion, especially given there are so many teams above them.
Lancashire have won their last two matches against Sussex at home and Glamorgan away, dating back to mid-July because of the Vitality Blast.
The latter was against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay last month, a fixture illuminated by a double century for in-form captain Dane Vilas.
Glenn Maxwell will play the final game of his overseas spell with Lancashire before returning to Australia.
Maxwell will be preparing for the start of the Aussie domestic summer with his state side Victoria, meaning the batting all-rounder missing the final two Specsavers County Championship matches of the campaign against Middlesex and Leicestershire.
Derbyshire will be frustrated at not being able to build on an encouraging start to the Division Two campaign in April and May when they won two and drew in their first three matches. They drew against Gloucestershire and then beat Leicestershire and Glamorgan.
They followed that with a winless spell until mid-July, including losing to Lancashire by 10 wickets at Derby in June.
That means they are now closer to the bottom of Division Two than the top with only three wins from their 11 games, including five defeats and three draws. While they are not mathematically out of the promotion race, it would take something remarkable for them to be playing Division One cricket next summer.
On-loan Middlesex batsman Tom Lace, out for the season with a broken finger, is their leading run-scorer with 835, albeit scoring runs for both counties.
Captain and opener Billy Godleman has 732 and has enjoyed a stunning summer in all forms of the cricket.
Wayne Madsen (677), wicketkeeper Harvey Hosein (542) and former Lancashire all-rounder Luis Reece (549) have all topped 500 runs this season.
Reece, who opens the batting and bowls left-arm swingers, is their leading Championship wicket-taker this season with 43 scalps, including a best of 6-52. Ex-West Indies quick Ravi Rampaul isn’t far behind with 41 wickets.
Fast bowler Logan van Beek from New Zealand is their overseas player, but he hasn’t sparkled this summer, taking only 19 wickets so far. Nevertheless, Lancashire will be well aware of his extra yard of pace.
Derbyshire should be buoyed by the fact that they have reached Vitality Blast Finals Day for the first time, beating Gloucestershire at Bristol in Saturday’s quarter-final.
Jimmy Anderson and Graham Onions shared 17 of the 20 wickets to fall as Lancashire hammered Derbyshire by 10 wickets inside three days at the County Ground in mid-June.
Anderson took five wickets in the first innings and Onions five in the second in a low-scoring encounter which saw only one half-century for either side - Steven Croft’s first-innings unbeaten 53 as Lancashire posted 236.
Derbyshire had been bowled out for 153 on day one following an uncontested toss, and the hosts only just avoided an innings defeat when they were bowled out for only 84 in 35 overs second time around.
It left Lancashire chasing a victory target of only two, which they achieved when Keaton Jennings hit the first ball of the chase for four on day three.
Onions claimed the 700th wicket of his first-class career in Derbyshire’s second innings when he bowled Wayne Madsen.
WHAT THEY SAID
Liam Livingstone is relishing the return to Emirates Old Trafford for only Lancashire’s second Championship match at headquarters since late May.
“We’ve played some good cricket in the Championship, and it will be nice to get back to Emirates Old Trafford. It feels like forever since we’ve played here (in the Championship),” said batsman Livingstone.
“It would be nice if we can get promotion this game, but like we’ve said all season, out goal at the start of the year was to go up as champions. And nothing has changed.
“We want to win all three games remaining and round off what has been a very good Championship campaign up to now.”
Lancashire hammered Glamorgan in their last Championship game at Colwyn Bay last month. At the time, it was a clash between top and second in Division Two.
Red Rose captain Dane Vilas lit up the game with a career best 266, but Livingstone added: “I thought our bowlers were unbelievable on a pitch and ground which Dane made look like a postage stamp.
“It just goes to show the quality of the lads we have.”
The Club would like to thank matchday sponsors C&C Insurance for their continued support.
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