Derbyshire will take more than just hope with them when they face Lancashire at Blackpool in the Royal London One-Day Cup tomorrow (Friday).
A four wicket win over Warwickshire at Derby on Wednesday not only kept alive their chances of emerging from the North Group but also showed the progress Derbyshire are making in white ball cricket.
Faced with a tight finish, Billy Godleman’s side might have stumbled in previous seasons and come up short, particularly against a Division One team with quality bowlers in Jeetan Patel, Keith Barker and former Derbyshire captain Rikki Clarke.
But after Ben Slater and Godleman had established another solid platform, Daryn Smit, Alex Hughes and finally Jeevan Mendis made sure Derbyshire achieved their highest ever one-day score against Warwickshire.
The significance of the performance was not lost on Godleman who recognised the importance of the victory.
“I said to guys in the changing room that for the last 24 months we’ve come off the field 90 per cent or more of the time having lost a tight game like that against a big county but this time we won that game and found a way to get over the line.
“It doesn’t mean we are going to do it all of the time but we now have another layer of confidence that when we get into that situation we will have even more chance of executing our skills and bringing the game home.
“I think this is a culmination of a few areas, firstly the guys have played more cricket now and have been on the receiving end of defeats and hardships which has made us determined to use those failures as a learning experience we could implement when we got the opportunity.
“I also think players in the middle and lower order like Daryn and Jeevan have that extra experience, they’ve played a lot of white ball cricket, and to have those wise heads not just with their skills but what they bring to the group in terms of information and a calming influence is another factor.”
Mendis delivered his first major innings for the county and his unbeaten 44 from 23 balls, including six fours and a straight six off Clarke, made a big impression on his captain.
“It was a stunning innings,” Godleman said. “To time it from ball one on that wicket against a very accomplished and experienced bowling attack showed why he has played at the highest level and has been very successful.
“Now we have three games left and it’s very important for us a group to make sure the focus is on the next game and if we play that to the best of our ability then hopefully the results will look after themselves.”