Dot, dot, wicket, one, dot, dot; the final over of Derbyshire’s batting powerplay served as a microcosm of their prowess in this match as a failure to score runs or preserve wickets early-on allowed Notts Outlaws to maintain their winning streak with precious little resistance.
Hemmed in the deepest of valleys at 29/3 after six, the traditional middle over squeeze forced Nottinghamshire’s near neighbours to wait until the end of the ninth to put fifty runs on the board.
Wayne Madsen, promoted to open as a renowned player of spin, was unfortunate to find Ben Duckett patrolling the square leg boundary after slog-sweeping the first ball of the innings straight to his grasp. Even at that point, Derbyshire’s hopes had diminished and Notts made the earliest of advantages pay to go on to secure victory by eight wickets.
The Outlaws’ batting performance provided a stark contrast. Chris Nash (40*) stood firm to produce a well-constructed knock of trademark fluency while carrying his bat through the innings. His partnership with Ben Duckett was worth 98 runs as the pair built a bridge from 45-2 to victory with 35 balls to spare.
With Derbyshire one for none, Notts set about building on a perfect start. Leus du Plooy marched on Matt Carter but found a dead spot on his Genesis blade to give Jake Ball a high catch which he held with aplomb. Luis Reece bowed to Ball’s incisive second over to see himself caught after mistiming a shapeless shot to give Tom Moores an easy take.
Billy Godleman settled into the anchor role and found support from Matt Critchley as the pair put on 48 for the fourth wicket. The stand was abruptly ended by Samit Patel’s double strike, as he found a thick edge to have Critchley caught by Matt Carter at short third man. Alex Hughes followed the well-trodden path to the Long Room, clean bowled first ball attempting an ill-judged reverse sweep.
Hughes became the fifth Derbyshire batsman to fall first ball in the two Vitality Blast encounters at Trent Bridge this season, as Samit Patel celebrated a milestone of his own having earned selection for a one hundredth successive Outlaws T20 match.
With the weight of his team on his back and even more pressure applied by the imposing Trent Bridge scoreboard, Godleman’s pull shot was cleanly struck, but cleanly caught by Patel to give Steven Mullaney a prized wicket.
Any fears that the early autumn hybrid pitch was conducive to slow scoring were roundly dismissed by Outlaws opener Alex Hales in an explosive eight-ball cameo yielding 22 runs, before Matt Critchley dived forward to take a brave catch off Dustin Melton.
Like Hales, Joe Clarke (16) appeared on the verge of settling in before cutting Critchley’s leg break straight to du Plooy.
Duckett’s propensity to switch-hit with God-given ease was brought to the fore in his classy 57, as he manipulated and pierced the field to frustrate the visitors. Billy Godleman cycled through nine bowlers but found only four with single figure economy. Mattie Mckiernan and Alex Hughes combined to produce an episode of Chuckle Brother fielding to gift Duckett an eighth four and his fifty.
Notts march on unbeaten while Derbyshire will be scantly consoled by an early finish and a short commute.
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