Statistical Review: 2023 Vitality Blast

Thursday 6th July 2023
Photography by: David Griffin

After a breathless T20 campaign featuring 14 group matches in less than seven weeks – a period which also included a couple of Championship games – Derbyshire just failed in their bid to reach the quarter finals for a second successive year. There were, however, several statistical landmarks across the group games which our Heritage Officer and Statistician David Griffin highlights below.

Twenty20 cricket entered its 21st year in 2023 and the most obvious advancement since the humble beginnings in 2003 has been the increases in run scoring. Derbyshire’s average team score in 2003 was a mere 131; during the 2017, 2019 and 2022 quarter final years they averaged scores in the 150s and 160s. This summer their average innings score was 179.

Accordingly, several batting records were set, not least by Wayne Madsen, without a doubt Derbyshire’s greatest T20 cricketer. He scored a century at Leicester, becoming the only Derbyshire player to make two T20 hundreds; made six scores of more than 50 to overtake Shan Masood’s record of five set in 2022; scored 20 sixes across the 14 matches beating Luis Reece’s previous seasons’ best of 18, and took his overall tally of T20 sixes to 95, 30 more than Reece in second place. Unsurprisingly, his tally of 582 runs in 14 games is also a new county record.

Madsen ended the campaign with 4,117 T20 runs for Derbyshire and is one of only seven cricketers to score more than 4,000 runs in T20 cricket in the UK.

Haider Ali scored 335 runs, Leus du Plooy 291 and Luis Reece 268 with Harry Came adding 248 in only six matches while both Brooke Guest and Tom Wood passed the 200-runs mark as Wood made a superb 51-ball hundred against Leicestershire at Derby, the second-equal fastest century for Derbyshire.

Sixes galore were struck – 96 in all – over 50 per cent more than have ever been hit in a single season, at a rate of almost seven per game. On two occasions, against Birmingham at Edgbaston and Yorkshire at Chesterfield, captain du Plooy struck five sixes in an innings, both of which were match winning.

There were 15 individual scores of 50 or more – another club record – with Madsen equalling the world record in scoring five in a row, although it was du Plooy who reached fifty in the fewest number of balls requiring just 21 in the thrilling win against Birmingham at Edgbaston.

Derbyshire’s team record of 222 disappeared thanks to Tom Wood’s fireworks against Leicestershire at Derby as his side amassed 231 for 4. By way of contrast, Derbyshire won the Benson and Hedges Cup at Lord’s in 1993 defending 225 scored off 55 overs.

The record successful run chase was also surpassed in the game at Edgbaston when Birmingham saw their 207 overtaken with three balls to spare.

Chesterfield witnessed another memorable game, albeit not the usual nailbiter, but a completely one-sided win over Yorkshire, Derbyshire’s sixth in a row in T20 cricket at Queen’s Park. In a superb innings of two halves du Plooy scored 15 runs from his first 16 balls and then 51 from the next 16 taking his team’s total to 212 for four, enough for a club record 144-run victory as the visitors subsided to 7-4, 20-5, 37-7 and eventually 68 all out.

With the ball three bowlers took the honours and totalled 71 wickets between them. Bowling with pace, fire, and hostility Zak Chappell (26 wickets), Zaman Khan (25) and George Scrimshaw (20) all produced spells of high quality.

Scrimshaw had equalled Ravi Rampaul’s 2019 record of 23 T20 wickets in 2022, but both of his colleagues passed that mark. Bowling with genuine pace and a capacity to hit the stumps with great regularity Zaman Khan quickly became a fan favourite while Chappell continued his excellent start to the season. Both took four wickets in the game against Durham at Chester-le-Street, the first time two bowlers had performed the feat for Derbyshire since 2007. Scrimshaw, meanwhile, maintained his excellent white ball performances, enhancing his reputation as a genuinely fast bowler. He’s now taken 57 T20 wickets in just 49 matches, closing in on the record of 60 wickets by Alex Hughes.

As team totals have risen, so too, quite logically, have economy rates. In 2017 Wayne Madsen conceded barely seven runs per over; in 2019 Ravi Rampaul conceded just 6.70 runs per over; this year the lowest economy rate was almost 8.5, by Zaman Khan.

Overall, despite the records, six wins and a tie was not quite enough and it will be another year before Mickey Arthur’s charges can have another tilt at T20 Vitality Blast glory.

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