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MATCH PREVIEW: Lancashire v Derbyshire, Royal London Cup

MATCH PREVIEW: Lancashire v Derbyshire, Royal London Cup

After Tuesday’s washout against Essex at Sedbergh, Lancashire got their campaign up and running at Yorkshire on Thursday in grand style with a mauling of Yorkshire every bit as convincing as the Vitality Blast semi-final win at Edgbaston last month.

The Red Rose, chasing only 225, won by seven wickets with nine overs to spare at Clifton Park, riding on an excellent all-round display from Luke Wells, who claimed 2-25 from eight overs of leg-spin and top-scored with a career best 88.

Lancashire now face a Derbyshire side who have made a mixed start to the competition. 

After losing at home to champions Glamorgan on Tuesday - bowled out for 110 - they bounced back yesterday to beat Essex under lights at Chelmsford, winning by 92 runs. 

Brooke Guest made 88 and Mattie McKiernan 72 not out off 49 balls in 318-6 before Essex were bowled out for 226.

Lancashire’s RL50 captain Keaton Jennings has been called up to the England Lions squad for a four-day clash with South Africa at Canterbury on Tuesday, as has Derbyshire seamer Sam Conners. 

Opponents 

Derbyshire have been handed a significant boost with the news that Pakistan overseas batter Shan Masood will be available for this fixture following international duty. 

Opening batter Masood has been on Test duty in Sri Lanka, though he didn’t play. 

The left-hander is one of the leading run-scorers in the County Championship this summer with 1,074, and he captained the side en-route to the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.

There was a chance Masood could have been away for longer had he been picked in his country’s T20 squad for the forthcoming Asia Cup. But he has been omitted. 

He will return to a line-up mixed with youth and experience.

The Falcons are missing key batters Wayne Madsen and Leus du Plooy plus England Lions fast bowler George Scrimshaw because of Hundred duty.

Long-standing captain Billy Godleman, the opening batter who has had a difficult summer with only 225 runs in nine Championship games, has led them in the opening two games against Glamorgan and Essex over the last few days. 

This competition represents the left-hander’s first taste of white ball cricket in 2022 having not played in the Blast.

Former Lancashire quartet Guest, McKiernan, Luis Reece and Mark Watt are all part of the Falcons’ RL50 squad.

It has been a largely positive summer for the county, who have a new head of cricket in Mickey Arthur. Added to quarter-final Blast qualification, they are only 10 points behind the top two in the Championship Division Two promotion race. 

Opposing player to watch 

Wicketkeeper batter Brooke Guest has topped 1,000 runs in all competitions for Derbyshire this year, topping 60 dismissals with the gloves.

Anglo-Australian Guest spent three years with Lancashire between 2017 and 2019 with limited first-team opportunities, hence a move to the Incora County Ground.

Guest, 25, was born in Manchester and grew up in Perth, playing for Australia Under 19s.

An inventive and deceptively powerful player, Guest has scored 822 runs from 11 Championship games this summer. He scored two in an early season home draw against Glamorgan in April before adding two more in back-to-back innings last month in draws against Durham and Notts.

He had a quiet Vitality Blast and will be hoping the summer’s second limited overs competition bears more fruit. 

Following his 88 at Chelmsford, a career best in List A cricket, the signs are good.  

Previous meeting 

En-route to the semi-finals in 2019, Lancashire won a shortened game at Emirates Old Trafford (May 2) by 30 runs.

A 38 overs per side group contest contest saw opener Keaton Jennings’ busy 84 off 88 balls, including nine boundaries, and Jake Lehmann’s similar 77 not out off 67 underpin a competitive but not commanding 239-6.

At 74-1 in the 18th over of their chase, the Falcons would have fancied their chances, but a loss of four wickets for 23 runs cost them dearly. Brooke Guest sub-fielded for Lancashire that day. 

Spin put the skids under the Falcons, with Steven Croft twice, Rob Jones and Matt Parkinson striking in that collapse. 

Croft took the new ball and finished with an excellent 2-20 from seven overs, and such was the Red Rose fightback that Anuj Dal’s innings top-score of 52 off 39 from number seven was nothing more than consolatory as they finished on 209-7.

Late in Lancashire’s innings, Liam Hurt had to retire hurt having dislocated his knee cap and was unable to bowl.

What they said: 

Luke Wells believes he has benefitted from the blank canvas which Lancashire’s coaching staff have allowed him to work from since joining from Sussex ahead of last year.

Wells, 31, arrived at Emirates Old Trafford on the back of a difficult end to his time with home county Sussex - opportunities significantly limited.

While his reputation may have been as more of a red ball player, he has shown his capabilities extend way beyond that of just a left-handed top order batter in the Championship.

He has proved an extremely useful asset in the middle order of the Lightning’s T20 team and also up the order in 50-over cricket. And not only that, he has proved his value as a very useful leg-spinner.

Wells starred in Thursday’s RL50 victory over Yorkshire at York, returning 2-25 from eight overs and then leading the chase of 225 with a career best 88 off 67 at the top of the order.

When you look at Wells’ List A stats during his Sussex career and his Lancashire career, it makes for fascinating comparison.

In 26 games for Sussex between 2010 and 2018, he scored 232 runs and took 10 wickets. For Lancashire, he has played eight games and scored 246 runs added to six wickets.

When asked if he feels a more rounded player now than he did two years ago, he said: “A lot of that’s down to opportunity, if I’m honest. 

“Added to that is the excitement of a fresh start, new eyes looking at your game and you’re not pigeon-holed in any way. I haven’t be labelled as a particular type of player. I’m 31 now, and I still feel like I’ve got a lot to offer in all forms.”

Wells was delighted with Thursday’s Roses win, the ease of which indicated that a trophy tilt may be in the offing over the next few weeks. 

“We really do believe,” he said. 

“We have a fantastic squad. Look at the players who didn’t play (against Yorkshire). There’s George Balderson, Tom Bailey was rested, George Bell’s chomping at the bit to play, Liam Hurt as well.

“I know it’s an old cliche, but we just have to take one game at a time.

“We just have to keep rolling with the momentum. When you’re playing well, momentum can take you a long way.

“It was a nice start. We weren’t put under too much pressure. But I think there are areas we can improve. At the top, we bowled too many extras, for example.” 

How’s Stat

Lancashire have not lost a List A fixture against Derbyshire at Emirates Old Trafford since 1997, a Benson and Hedges Cup Group match when captain Mike Atherton and Andrew Flintoff opened the batting.

Since a No Result in May 2013, Lancashire have won the last six List A meetings between these two sides.

 
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