Finals Day preview

Thursday 19th September 2019
& News
Written by Stephen Martin

As Derbyshire prepare for their historic Finals Day appearance, here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Edgbaston showpiece. 

The Falcons have made it to the final four of the Vitality Blast for the first time, after winning their last four Twenty20 matches in convincing fashion.

The journey

Derbyshire began their Vitality Blast campaign by hosting Yorkshire at the picturesque Queen’s Park, Chesterfield, where Billy Godleman’s unbeaten half-century helped the Falcons to a five-wicket victory.

Defeats to Birmingham Bears, Notts Outlaws and Worcestershire Rapids followed, before Luis Reece and Wayne Madsen both struck half-centuries in a crucial win over Northants in front of the Sky cameras.

A narrow loss to Durham followed, before Dominic Cork’s side secured back-to-back wins over Yorkshire Vikings and Worcestershire Rapids to move into the top four of a tight North Group.

However, as the Sky cameras rolled into town, the Falcons were unable to continue their good form as they fell to a heavy defeat to Leicestershire Foxes in Derby.

The loss damaged their chances of progressing, but with an abandonment at Trent Bridge in between, the Falcons then embarked on a brilliant run of form which saw them win games against Northants Steelbacks and Leicestershire Foxes to all but secure qualification.

Heading into their final group game against a Lancashire side who were unbeaten at home in the competition, Derbyshire knew a victory would confirm a knockout spot.

Madsen (69) and Godleman (57) put on their third partnership of 50 or more in the space of four days to help the Falcons to a total of 162-3, before wickets 19, 20 and 21 of the competition for Ravi Rampaul, the most T20 wickets in a single season for a Derbyshire player, guided them to an 11-run victory.

The Falcons faced Gloucestershire in the quarter-final at Bristol, with a first Finals Day appearance in prospect. Wayne Madsen top-scored with 47, while Matt Critchley, Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Alex Hughes and Ravi Rampaul all struck with the ball in the seven-wicket win.

The opposition

Essex Eagles

Derbyshire’s opponents in the semi-final will be stiff opposition, having defeated Lancashire Lightning in the quarter-final to reach the last four of the competition.

The Eagles won five matches in the south group to finish fourth, before claiming a six-wicket victory in the quarter-final to book their place at Finals Day.

Dan Lawrence (360) has scored the most runs for Essex in the competition, making four half-centuries in 11 innings at an average of 40.00, while Cameron Delport’s 353 runs has seen him make two half-centuries and one century.

In terms of averages, Ravi Bopara leads the way, having scored 228 runs at 45.60, with his high-score of 70 coming as Essex ended Surrey’s quarter-final hopes.

Australia’s Adam Zampa has taken 12 wickets for Essex in this year’s competition at an average of 28.93, while Bopara has claimed ten wickets at 21.20.

Notts Outlaws

Our East Midlands Rivals are aiming to reclaim the title after winning the Vitality Blast in 2017, with Notts having won six group matches during his year’s competition.

Alex Hales and Chris Nash dominated Middlesex in the quarter-final at Trent Bridge, as the pair put on 165 in a ten-wicket win for the hosts to book their Finals Day place.

With 366 runs to his name, Hales has been a key-figure in the Notts batting lineup in the Blast, with the opener’s runs coming at an average of 36.60 across 11 innings.

Harry Gurney has claimed 20 wickets in this year’s Vitality Blast, one of only fours players who have taken 20 or more so far. His dismissals have come at an average of 18.45.

Only Derbyshire’s Ravi Rampaul will go into Finals Day with more wickets than Gurney, after Matthew Parkinson (21) and Kyle Abbott (20) exited the competition at earlier stages.

Worcestershire Rapids

The reigning Champions will be looking to retain their crown after beating Sussex in the quarter-final of the competition earlier this month.

Derbyshire and Worcestershire have traded victories this season, with Billy Godleman’s 92 helping the Falcons to a 20-run win at The Pattonair County Ground in August.

Riki Wessels (396) and Moeen Ali (312) have both struck more than 300 runs in this year’s competition, with the latter’s total coming in just five innings at an average of 104.00, with one century and two half-centuries.

Pat Brown (14), Ed Barnard (11) and Wayne Parnell (11) are all into double-figures for wickets taken, while Ali has eight wickets at an average of 17.38.

Finals Day! Derbyshire reach their first Vitality Blast Finals Day on Saturday 21 September. They take on Essex Eagles in the second semi-final at Edgbaston. Good luck, lads!

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