Derbyshire and Leicestershire play out draw

Sunday 7th May 2023
Photography by: David Griffin, written by ECB Reporters Network

Chris Wright rescued Leicestershire and denied Derbyshire a first victory of the season in the LV= County Championship.

When Leicestershire were bowled out for 281, a lead of 53, there were only three overs left and with  two to be taken off for the break between innings, that would have left Derbyshire only six balls to score the runs.

But confusion over the rules left the umpires and teams believing there were three overs to bowl and a 20 minute delay followed before the game ended with Colin Ackermann racing through an over to avoid Leicestershire losing a point for a slow over rate.

Derbyshire’s head of cricket Mickey Arthur said: “The umpires miscalculated the amount of overs. They said we had three left and it turned out we had one left.

“We thought we had 18 balls there and we were going to give it a full crack but it was a bit harder off six!

“I think they were calculating just to make sure they’d got it right and obviously it was right that there was only one left.”

Leicestershire’s head coach Paul Nixon said: “We were ringing the ECB from about eight overs left to get clarity on proceedings.

“We always thought it was the over you’re in plus two that are taken off. The ECB make a lot of rule changes for the better of the game every year and I didn’t hear of that one.

“Peter Such (the match referee) had been speaking to the umpires out there, they were a little bit grey on the matter and wanted to make sure they had absolute clarity.

“We just wanted to get to the bottom of it, we don’t all know everything, there’s a lot of rules these guys have to know and the nice thing is they were calm when the pressure was on and made the right decisions.”

Wright’s unbeaten 49 from 112 balls steered Leicestershire to safety, sharing an eighth wicket stand of 81 from 130 balls with Peter Handscomb who scored 62.

When they came together, Derbyshire were heading for victory after the visitors collapsed in the afternoon, slipping to 181 for 7 at tea, still 47 behind.

But the lower order dug in to deny the home side a first win of the season and preserve Leicestershire’s unbeaten start.

Any late drama looked unlikely after Rishi Patel, 58, and Lewis Hill, 63, shared a second wicket stand of 113 from 198 balls.

But the momentum shifted when Patel was dismissed in the second over of the afternoon session, playing at a ball from Sam Conners that moved away before Hill edged Luis Reece to slip.

When Colin Ackermann drove back a return catch in Reece’s next over, the force was very much with Derbyshire although Leicestershire had two Test match batters at the crease in Wiaan Mulder and Handscombe.

The pair dug in for 14 overs but Mulder, who has failed to get past 11 this season, played on trying to cut Watt after facing 49 balls for seven.

England all-rounder Rehan Ahmed had scored a thrilling century at Derby in the final match of 2022 to save the game but his reckless dismissal pushed Leicestershire closer to defeat.

Ahmed charged down the pitch to drive Watt into a different postcode, missed by some distance, and was bowled.

At least Tom Scriven was beaten by a good ball from Conners which came back with the arm to knock out his middle stump on the stroke of tea.

If Derbyshire thought they had broken Leicestershire’s resistance, Handscomb and Wright made them think again by wiping out the arrears with a mixture of determined defence and selective aggression.

They added 81 and faced 130 balls before Conners struck with the second new ball when he tempted Handscomb into a drive which Wayne Madsen held at second slip.

Michael Finan and Wright survived another 31 balls until Henry Brookes bowled Finan with one that kept low but Josh Hull stayed with Wright long enough to ensure Leicestershire were safe before the game descended into chaos.

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