Although Derbyshire can no longer qualify for the knockout stages of the Vitality Blast, all-rounder Alex Hughes hopes the Falcons can end the competition with a win for supporters.
The 26-year-old has enjoyed a prolific Vitality Blast campaign with the ball, taking 17 wickets at an average of 19.05, and with one game to go, he has the opportunity to surpass the wicket-taking record he shares with Imran Tahir.
He’s been part of a seam bowling unit in which all five bowlers have taken 10 wickets or more, a first for the Club in the format, and a record which Hughes believes has been key to winning matches.
He said: “It’s been nice to get some wickets and help the team out, but it’s been a lot easier to do with four other seamers who bowled exceptionally well and made my job easier.
“We’ve bowled pretty well throughout, but unfortunately we haven’t put together the ball and the bat in enough games to ultimately progress. We had a run of five wins in six and that shows how destructive we could be.
“That’s been disappointing and we started off very slowly, but there have been a lot of positives and good wins so we have to focus on that.”
Overseas quicks Lockie Ferguson and Wahab Riaz have taken 16 and 15 wickets respectively, while the latter has been instrumental in Hughes’ bowling performances.
He added: “It’s been nice to put fear in the opposition’s batting line-up. They’re great guys to have around the team and I’ve learned a lot from them. Hopefully it won’t be the last time they play for us.
“He talked to me a lot, not particularly about what balls to bowl, but when to bowl them and plans to different batsman. He’s very knowledgeable and he’s played a lot of Twenty20 cricket, so it’s been good to pick his brains.”
With a trip to face Durham in the final round of the Vitality Blast North Group, Hughes is determined to end the campaign with a win to reward the good support the Falcons have received and build a platform for further progress next summer.
The all-rounder said: “It’s hard to look back on the campaign as it’s still pretty fresh. There are a lot of things we can work on for next year. I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to that already and try and go better and reach the knockout stages again.
“Although we can’t qualify, we’ll still be giving it our all and looking to put on a good show for the supporters.
“We’ve had a lot of good support throughout as we always do, and hopefully we can finish off with a win.
“Durham wouldn’t be the first team you’d think to qualify and they’ve been fantastic so it just shows how Twenty20 is tight-paced and if you can get on a winning run then there’s no reason why you can’t qualify.
“We’ve done it before, so next year we’ll put to rest some of the mistakes we made this year and go at it again.
“Every team that comes to play us now knows they’re in for a game, which might not have been the case in past years.
“They know we’re capable of beating them and I think we do strike some fear into the opposition, especially with the bowling attack we’ve had over the last couple of years.”
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