Are Derbyshire finally about to make their mark in T20?
Although the NatWest T20 Blast is only in its second week, there are signs Derbyshire could finally be about to make their mark in the shortest form of the game.
A successful run chase against last year’s winners Northants was followed by a last ball victory over Yorkshire in front of a sell-out crowd at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield that could have greater significance further down the line.
The Falcons lost a T20 game to Yorkshire in 2016 when they were almost home so to come out on the right side of a tight contest was worth more than just two points.
There are, of course, a lot of games still to be played but one of the new recruits, New Zealand all-rounder Matt Henry, appreciates the importance of winning when a match is in the balance.
“T20 can go either way, that’s the nature of the beast, and if we can get through tight games like this, it should give us confidence in the competition,” he said.
“You are always trying to develop your game and especially with T20, as a group we want to keep pushing forward.
“We’ve got some good momentum with these first two wins but it is just a start, it’s a long tournament and we’ve got to keep getting slightly better with every game.”
Because the County Ground, Derby is staging the Women’s World Cup, Derbyshire’s next four games are away, starting with Lancashire at Old Trafford this Sunday.
Derbyshire were beaten by Lancashire in a 50 overs game in May but the performances in last week’s back-to-back victories suggest John Wright’s team is equipped to respond this weekend.
“We haven’t played our perfect brand but we’re doing it well enough to get over the line which is a great sign for us as a team,” Henry said.
“We’ve made a great start and T20 can be a momentum game so we’ve got to keep pushing forward and keep that momentum.
“If we can do well in these away games it will put us in good stead so when we do get the home games we can make it our fortress and defend it. “
Henry played a key part in the Yorkshire victory by first helping the Falcons recover with the bat and then bowling the final over when Tim Bresnan was threatening to spoil Derbyshire’s party.
“You have to back your plans and whatever you do, you commit to it. It’s an exciting opportunity to have that last over and the chance to win the game and that’s the way you have to look at it.
“I think it’s key with the way games are now that you have to be unpredictable and that’s what allows you to get a couple more dot balls here and there.”
“It was nice to get bumped up the order a bit and contribute. We had to gain some momentum because they had bowled well up front so we had to try and take it to them in the middle and we got to a total that was defendable.”
“John wants me to keep working on my batting so I’m contributing in that way as well and scoring some important runs in the middle.”