Derbyshire name an unchanged 14-man squad for the final Vitality Blast match of the summer, away to Durham Jets on Friday 17 August; 6.30pm start.
The Falcons will be aiming to end the campaign with a win, now knowing that qualification to the knockout stages is out of reach. With five wins from their 13 matches, Gary Wilson’s men have the chance to end on a possible 13 points.
New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls will be hoping to get out to the middle for the first time in a Derbyshire shirt, after rain forced the abandonment of his debut match against the Leicestershire Foxes.
He replaced Wahab Riaz and joins up with fellow Black Cap Lockie Ferguson to complete the Falcons’ overseas pairing.
Wayne Madsen is Derbyshire’s leading run-scorer in the competition with 328 runs at an average of 32.80. Billy Godleman (309) and Calum MacLeod (324) have also hit over 300 runs, while the Scottish top-order batsman remains the only Falcon to hit a century this campaign, a fine 104 versus Northants Steelbacks.
Five Derbyshire seamers have taken 10 or more wickets in the format, a record for the Club. Alex Hughes leads the way with 17, while Lockie Ferguson has 16.
Matt Critchley provides a leg spin option, as well as powerful lower-order hitting, and Safyaan Sharif will be hoping to make his second Vitality Blast appearance.
Young seamer Alfie Gleadall has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2018 season with a lower back stress fracture. Luis Reece remains absent through a metatarsal injury suffered at the end of May, whilst fast bowlers Will Davis and James Taylor all miss out through injuries.
26. Ben Slater
1. Billy Godleman
20. Matt Critchley
6. Calum MacLeod
27. Henry Nicholls
77. Wayne Madsen
18. Alex Hughes
14. Gary Wilson
65. Anuj Dal
21. Matt McKiernan
7. Hardus Viljoen
69. Lockie Ferguson
50. Safyaan Sharif
41. Ravi Rampaul
The Jets sit top of the North Group after a well-paced and high-performing campaign has seen them record nine wins in their 13 matches.
With qualification secured, they will be aiming for a win which would guarantee a home quarter final at Emirates Riverside.
Tom Latham is the Jets’ leading run-scorer with an impressive 454 at an average of 38 and a strike rate over 137. Graham Clark (392 runs) has also been prolific with the bat
Former Derbyshire leg spinner, Imran Tahir, took 15 wickets for the Jets in his eight matches before leaving for the Caribbean Premier League, while Nathan Rimmington remains the main threat with the ball.
He has 22 wickets at an average of 17.68, while James Weighell has 13 at an average of 25.
Durham Squad: To be announced.
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 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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