About the Match
Having lifted the trophy twice in four years, the defending champions Northants begin their quest in Natwest T20 Blast against Derbyshire on 7th July 2017 at County Ground, Northampton. Derbyshire, on the other hand, failed to even qualify for the quarter finals. Although Northamptonshire’s display in the league stage was at par with Nottinghamshire’s, but their geared-up their game in the knockouts. Derbyshire, on the other hand, just got to five wins in their 14 matches and failed to book a slot in the knockouts.
Northants have kept their squad almost the same as the team which won the title last time. Alex Wakely will lead the team which is full of hard-hitting players. Richard Levi has been a match-winner for them and his form will be key at the top of the order.
Benn Duckett and Joshua Cobb were brilliant in the last year as they both racked in excess of 450 runs at a healthy strike-rate. Northants bat deep with Steven Crook coming late in the order who can smash the ball hard.
Their bowling played a key role in their title win last year. Richard Gleeson bowled with accuracy and had an economy rate of less than 6. He picked up 14 wickets in 10 games. Northants have signed Tabraiz Shamsi for their first three matches. He comes in as a replacement for Sekugee Prasanna who was superb for Northants last year.
Derbyshire also known as Birmigham Bears will be hoping for the change in their fortunes in this year. Although they weren’t as bad as the points table reflect, their batting could have been better.
Derbyshire’s best batsman in the last season, Hamish Rutherford, who scored just over a 350 runs will not be with them this year. Wayne Madsen’s batting will hold the key for them to score a challenging total on the board. They have nice array of all-rounders who could bat around him.
Their bowling made up for their ordinary batting display last year and similar performance will be expected from them coming into this tournament. Alex Hughes, Matthew Critchley and Matt Henry can be lethal when on song. If there batting can score a challenging total on the board, if batting first, they certainly have the bowling to challenge even the best in the world.
This match is seen as walk in the park for Northants by many Cricket Pundits, but Cricket is a funny game and T20 is even more so. In addition to that Derbyshire have an improved team this year. However, considering the team on paper, Northants look all set to win their first match