Dave Houghton says the pressure is on Derbyshire in their Bob Willis Trophy showdown with Lancashire, but he wants the side to take inspiration from their previous red-ball games.
Derbyshire go into the fifth round of fixtures top of the North Group, knowing that a win could see them qualify for the final at Lord’s later this month.
With a developing bowling attack, which has seen the likes of Sam Conners and Michael Cohen make their mark this season, and crucial batting performances lower down the order, Derbyshire are unbeaten in first-class cricket this year, winning two and drawing two.
Reigning Division Two champions Lancashire present a tough challenge at Aigburth, but Houghton says that their results so far prove they can compete with anyone in the group.
“We’ve played some really good cricket to get into a position where it’s all in our hands,” Houghton said.
“It’ll be a tough game, Lancashire is always a difficult game no matter what team they put out against us, but if we want to get to the final, we have that opportunity staring us in the face and we will have to have a good four days to get to Lord’s.
“All four games have been good, even against Yorkshire and Durham, because we only played the cricket we were allowed to, but we batted really well in both of those game.
“We’ve had a really good four-day season, even though it’s truncated, but we need one more big push, there’s a lot of pressure and one of the things with a young squad is how they can handle that pressure, we will see over the four days.”
Derbyshire will begin the game on Sunday with the second-most points in the country, knowing that if the situation is the same at the close of play on Day Four, they will have secured a place at Lord’s.
The Head of Cricket has been delighted with the improvement of the side compared to last season’s red-ball showings, and hopes they can enjoy a Lord’s showpiece to top it all off.
“I think in all of our Bob Willis Trophy games so far, we’ve played some really good cricket, better than the cricket we played last year,” Houghton added.
“I’m really pleased with our performances in the red-ball game this year, but I’ll be even happier if we can put the icing on the cake and get to Lord’s.”
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