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MATCH PREVIEW: Derbyshire v Lancashire Lightning

MATCH PREVIEW: Derbyshire v Lancashire Lightning

Lancashire are one win away from the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast for the 15th time in 20 seasons.

The Lightning sit atop of the North Group table, with their points tally boosted to 16 from 11 games with last night’s rained-off No Result against Durham at Blackpool.

Only 17.4 overs were bowled at Stanley Park, with Lancashire 133-6 when the inclement weather swept in. 

They travel to face a Derbyshire side who are in quarter-final contention themselves, sat fourth in the North seven wins and 14 points from 12 games. They are a point ahead of Yorkshire in fifth, who have a game in hand.

Last night’s heavy defeat against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge was a significant blow, losing by 94 runs as they forlornly chased a target of 248 and finished on 153-9.

It ended a five-game winning streak for the Falcons, who will this evening aim for revenge after losing at Emirates Old Trafford earlier in the competition.

                                     

Opponents 

Despite that defeat last night, Derbyshire seem to be riding a wave at the minute.

They are firmly in the hunt for prizes in both the Blast and the LV= Insurance County Championship.

At the halfway stage of the latter competition, they are fourth in Division Two having won two of their seven games so far, losing only once, and have every chance of promotion.

In terms of this competition - the Blast - they won a club record five games in a row up until last night and hold fourth place in the North Group table. Should they keep hold of that position, quarter-final cricket will be assured for the second time in four seasons after reaching Finals Day in 2019.

New head of cricket Mickey Arthur has made an immediate impact, as has Pakistan overseas batter Shan Masood, who is captaining the Falcons in T20 cricket.

No batter has scored more runs in county cricket than left-handed Masood’s 1,432 this summer. He has 441 in the Blast, added to 991 in Division Two of the Championship.  

Wayne Madsen (315 runs) is also in excellent Blast form with the bat, as is fellow South African-born player Leus du Plooy (336). 

The wickets, meanwhile, have been shared around. Tall quick George Scrimshaw, who has a bit of Steven Finn about him, leads the way with 19, while former Red Rose spinners Mark Watt (12) and Mattie McKiernan (13) are amongst those not far behind.

Opposing player to watch 

The obvious choices for this section would be either batters Shan Masood or Wayne Madsen. But let us have a look at in-form fast bowler George Scrimshaw.

Scrimshaw, 24, is a product of the Worcestershire Academy and played four Blast games for them in 2017, his second season as a full-time professional. 

Having been released by Worcester at the end of 2020, he impressed on trial with Derbyshire and debuted for them in all three formats last season.

A tall seamer with many similarities to Steven Finn in both wiry stature, approach to the crease and action, he has claimed 17 wickets in 11 Blast appearances this summer - accounting for half of his career tally of victims in this format.

Scrimshaw has struggled with injuries throughout what remains an embryonic career, and he has only played three times in first-class cricket - all in the County Championship for Derbyshire this year.

The Burton-on-Trent-born bowler has extra pace and bowls both short and full with accuracy at the death. He will be determined to recover from conceding 62 runs in four overs at Trent Bridge last night, a spell which yielded two wickets.

                                     

Previous meeting 

Liam Livingstone’s blistering 75 set Lancashire up for a pulsating Vitality Blast victory over Derbyshire at Emirates Old Trafford (June 1) as they posted 219-6 and defended it to win by only 17 runs.

The England all-rounder clattered five sixes in 40 balls from number three after Lightning skipper Dane Vilas, with whom he shared 91 for the third wicket, elected to bat before Derbyshire responded with 202-5.

Vilas added 34 off 22 as part of an entertaining support cast including Keaton Jennings (34) and Steven Croft (28), who both reached personal milestones.

Derbyshire’s task was always going to be mountainous in reply, despite two wins in three previous North Group games, and so it proved - even with opener Luis Reece’s 55 off 36 and Leus du Plooy’s unbeaten 59 off 31 at either end of the innings. 

Livingstone contributed further to unbeaten Lancashire’s third win in four games with 1-28 from four overs of varied spin. 

Jennings recorded his 1,000th T20 run for Lancashire. He was the county’s third quickest player to reach that milestone - in 33 innings, one slower than Jos Buttler and Mal Loye. Croft later became the first player to score 4,000 T20 runs for Lancashire.

What they said

There are no hurdles to a potential home quarter-final being played at Emirates Old Trafford between July 6 and 9, confirmed Lancashire chief executive Daniel Gidney.

The Red Rose county are firmly on course for the quarter-finals, and a top two finish in the North Group.

If that was rubber-stamped between now and next Sunday, the benefits of home advantage at Emirates Old Trafford would be reaped. 

Only three of the previous 14 quarter-final ties Lancashire have been involved in have been played at Emirates Old Trafford. A fourth, against Essex in 2019, had to be moved to neutral turf at Durham because a clash with that summer’s Test.

“There are no problems (for a home quarter) this year,” said Gidney.

“This is my 10th season at the club, and I think we’ve only had two home quarter-finals in that time. 

“One was against Glamorgan in 2014 when rain took it into a second day. Jordan Clark took four wickets and we ended up winning. The other one, we took to Durham because of the Test Match.

“If you look at our history, we generally start slow in the Blast and make a late run for qualification.

“This season has not been like that at all. 

“It would be fantastic for us to have a home quarter at Emirates Old Trafford because the guys have such a good record there. 

“We’ve won a lot of our away matches, although I know Somerset was a different story last year. But a home quarter-final would mean a lot to us, for sure.”

How’s Stat! 

In 15 Blast games between Derbyshire and Lancashire at the Incora County Ground, each county has won seven added to one tie.

 
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