5/3/2018 0 Comments
By Mark Kidger (@MarkfromMadrid)
Derbyshire have big plans for a new assault on Division One after their previous promotion saw them make a rapid return, after a dreadful start to the season left them just too much to do to save themselves. Here they have an unexpected opportunity to put one over a second promotion rival, having already given Middlesex a very bloody nose. Early indications are that Warwickshire will join Middlesex in wondering what has hit them. Derbyshire gambled on the Toss, won it and, after a nasty stutter, when 72-1 became 84-4, built a useful total on the back of Wayne Madsen’s 144. At 251-8, two batting points were in the bag, but a solid 40* from Duanne Olivier gave Madsen the support that he needed to get the third point and start pushing for a fourth. That Warwickshire are not deeper in the proverbial is largely down to Henry Brooks, eighteen and playing just his third First Class match, who took the last three wickets, castling Madsen when the ninth wicket partnership stood at 67 and was getting seriously out of hand. Duanne Olivier then added injury to insult by getting Dom Sibley to lob a catch to Critchley, provoking Warwickshire to send in Chris Wright as nightwatchman, in indifferent light, to protect Ian Bell and Jonathon Trott. Wright saw off the last four overs from Qadri and Critchley but, at 32-1, Warwickshire can ill-afford to lose an early wicket in the morning. So far, Mark Footitt has not been unleashed on Warwickshire, but will undoubtedly relish the thought of having a night-watchman in his sights in the morning and getting some momentum behind him.
Whoever programs the ECB fixture computer presumably drives the Mystery Machine (no doubt complete with Scooby-Doo) because they have thrown up another bizarre and mysterious item of scheduling. With ten sides in Division 2, three of the four rounds of matches, including this one, have two teams having byes. This may be forgivable in this case, as Pakistan’s “proper” preparation for the Tests against Ireland and England is to play another Division 2 side, but that pales into insignificance compared to the mystery of why, having established that games are played Friday to Monday, to ensure two, weekend crowds, this one is starting on a Thursday, when all the other games start the normal day? Even Velma Dinkley will have trouble solving this case, with or without the help of Scooby-Doo!
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