It’s just eight days until Derbyshire Falcons host their opening home NatWest T20 Blast fixture of the season; versus Leicestershire Foxes on Friday 3 June.
Eight is the number of teams Derbyshire will face during the group stages of the NatWest T20 Blast, with seven of them facing the Falcons at either The 3aaa County Ground or Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.
We take a look at a player to look out for from each of the Falcons’ 2016 opponents.
Mark Cosgrove – Leicestershire Foxes
The destructive Aussie has previous for scoring big runs against Derbyshire, having hit centuries in both of the County Championship fixtures between the two sides in 2015. The top-order batsman is just as effective in Twenty20 cricket with a batting index of over 140.
Ian Bell – Birmingham Bears
Despite being one of only a handful of Englishmen to have been a part of five Ashes-winning sides, Ian Bell has lost his place in the Test side, which is good news for the Birmingham Bears. The elegant batsman has been installed as the Bears’ Captain and is likely to offer a threat to the Falcons.
Daniel Christian – Notts Outlaws
After enjoying a successful spell with the Outlaws in 2015, Dan Christian agreed to return to Trent Bridge in 2016 and become their Twenty20 skipper. He has wide experience in the format, and recently hit a 117-metre six our of the Gabba whilst playing for the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash.
Richard Levi – Northants Steelbacks
Powerful top-order batsman Richard Levi is likely to offer a threat to Derbyshire, especially after hitting a quick-fire century against the Club in the Specsavers County Championship this season. The South African has played for his country in the shortest format of the game and boasts a strike-rate of 143.
Gary Ballance – Yorkshire Vikings
Zimbabwe-born Gary Ballance recently lost his place in the England Test squad, despite a batting average of 47. He will be keen to demonstrate his abilities whilst playing for Yorkshire this summer, and the NatWest T20 Blast is likely to offer the former-Derbyshire man a great opportunity to do so.
Jos Buttler – Lancashire Lightning
One of the country’s most impressive Twenty20 players, Jos Buttler is likely to be available for large parts of Lancashire’s NatWest T20 Blast campaign with Jonny Bairstow currently donning the gloves for England. He has vast experience in the format, playing Twenty20 cricket in the IPL and the Big Bash, as well as for Somerset and the Lightning.
Ross Whiteley – Worcestershire Rapids
A familiar name to many Falcons followers, Ross Whiteley shot to fame during the 2015 NatWest T20 Blast and earned himself a call-up to the England A squad. The all-rounder hit 315 runs in last year’s competition, including a stunning 91 not out to help his side defeat Yorkshire in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Headingley.
Paul Collingwood – Durham Jets
Still at the peak of physical fitness approaching 40-years-old, Paul Collingwood offers great value to the Durham Jets with both bat and ball in the NatWest T20 Blast. He captained England to the ICC World T20 title in 2010 and is still the country’s highest capped player in one-day cricket.
Derbyshire Falcons host their opening home NatWest T20 Blast fixture vs Leicestershire Foxes on Friday 3 June. Buy your tickets in advance to secure your seat and save 20%.
Leicestershire Foxes – Friday 3 June – BUY NOW
Birmingham Bears – Friday 17 June – BUY NOW
Notts Outlaws – Friday 24 June – BUY NOW
Northants Steelbacks – Sunday 3 July – BUY NOW
Yorkshire Vikings – Sunday 10 July – BUY NOW
Lancashire Lightning – Wednesday 13 July – BUY NOW
Worcestershire Rapids – Friday 22 July – BUY NOW