Ali and Reece hit fifties, but Derbyshire lose at Cheltenham

Tuesday 1st August 2023
Photography by: David Griffin, written by ECB Reporters Network

Haider Ali and Luis Reece struck half-centuries, but Derbyshire fell to a six-wicket defeat in their Metro Bank One Day Cup opener against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham. 

Ollie Price carved out an authoritative 116 not out and shared in stands of 142 with debutant Harry Tector and 108 with Jack Taylor for the third and fifth wickets respectively as Gloucestershire chased down a target of 299 with 6.4 overs in hand.

Signed for just one game, 23-year-old Ireland international Tector made the most of his only opportunity to impress a substantial Festival audience, scoring a startling 86 from 69 balls, while Taylor finished unbeaten on 51.

Pakistan batsman Haider Ali had earlier top-scored with 82 and opener Luis Reece hit 50 as Derbyshire posted 298-9 after losing the toss, Paul van Meekeren claiming 4-66 and Zaman Akhter 3-56 to enable Gloucestershire to keep a lid on things.

Required to score at 5.98 an over, Gloucestershire made a poor start to their reply, Sam Connors sweeping up openers Ben Charlesworth and Chris Dent in the space of four deliveries from the College Lawn End to reduce the home side to 16-2 in the third over.

Fresh from representing Ireland against Scotland in a T20 international in Edinburgh three days earlier, white ball specialist Tector took a challenging situation firmly in his stride, scoring at a run-a-ball from the outset to set a defiant tone.

Taking advantage of a short boundary at the famous old College Ground, the Dubliner produced an innings of controlled aggression to raise 50 from 52 balls before tucking into Mark Watt’s slow left arm as he pressed on the accelerator.

He and Price staged a 100 partnership in 92 balls and, by the time his electrifying innings was terminated by David Lloyd, who had him held at mid-on in the 23rd over, Tector had plundered 8 fours and 4 sixes and given Gloucestershire the upper hand.

With a further 141 required at 5.2 an over, Price took it upon himself to see the job through, going to his hundred from 101 balls, a landmark that elicited a standing ovation from all who witnessed it. James Bracey was bowled by Alex Thomson for 23, but Taylor remained at large for long enough to raise a 45-ball 50 and confirm his return to form.

These two were still there at the end, Price having faced 115 deliveries and amassed 13 fours to continue his outstanding run of form at the College Ground.

Put into bat, Derbyshire were afforded a super-charged start by openers Reece and Harry Came, who mustered a blaze of boundaries in posting a progressive stand of 71 in 11.1 overs. Josh Shaw and Ajeet Singh Dale proved expensive with the new ball, the visitors rushing to 50 from 51 balls.

Severe on anything short or wide, the openers helped themselves to 12 fours and a six, scoring 54 runs in boundaries to take the wind out of Gloucestershire sails. With runs coming too easily, the home side introduced slow left armer Zafar Gohar and experienced paceman van Meekeren in an attempt to apply the brakes.

Came had raised 40 from 32 balls and had his eyes trained firmly on a half century when he was bowled by van Meekeren, who then made good the breakthrough by persuading David Lloyd to chip to mid-wicket in an incisive five-over spell of 2-28.

Reece mustered further belligerence in scoring 50 from 58 balls, with 8 fours and a six, only to pull Zafar to deep backward square as the Pakistani produced a wicket maiden to reduce the visitors to 101-3 in the nineteenth over.

Required to rebuild the innings, Haider and Brooke Guest advanced the score to 140-3 at the halfway stage, the 50 partnership occupying 53 balls. These two plundered 29 off three overs of off spin from Ollie Price to give their alliance momentum, Haider collecting a half century in the process. Content to play a supporting role, Guest contributed a 48-ball 43 in a stand of 104 that served to put Derbyshire back on track.

It was Derbyshire’s first hundred stand in any one-day match played at Cheltenham and Gloucestershire were sorely in need of relief by the time Guest pulled the returning van Meekeren to mid-wicket and Zaman Akhter removed Anuj Dal. But while Haider remained at large, anything still seemed possible for the East Midlands county.

Having straight-driven and pulled Akhter for four and six in successive balls, the Pakistani international allowed complacency to creep in, chipping the same bowler to mid-wicket and departing for 80. He had faced 65 balls and accrued 8 fours and 3 sixes and, with him, went Derbyshire’s best chance to posting a truly imposing total.

Tom Wood struck 28 and Watt 22 not out as the final 10 overs yielded 69 runs, but there was a feeling that the visitors could and should have done better. For their part, Gloucestershire were indebted to van Meekeren and Zafar, who returned figures of 4-66 and 1-30 respectively, the latter sending down a remarkable 40 dot balls in his 10 overs, while Akhter finished with 3-56 from nine overs in his first List-A game.

Derbyshire opener Luis Reece said: “It’s always tough to know what a par score is when one of the boundaries is so small, but we felt we were a bit light at the halfway stage of the match. We made a good enough start, but then lost Haider Ali and Brooke Guest at pretty much the same time, which hit us hard. Having six down going into the last 10 overs was not where we wanted to be and made it difficult for us to really attack at the death.

“We needed one of us at the top end of the order to go on and make a really big score and, had that happened, it might have meant another 40 runs. That said, we didn’t bowl as well as we know we can. We bowled a bit too full and allowed a couple of their guys to get away. That was disappointing, but the main problem was not scoring enough runs in the first place. One of their boys has gone and scored an unbeaten hundred, and that’s what we needed. We kept having to rebuild and start again.”

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Match Result:
Tue 01 Aug 2023
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