Cricket – Clydesdale Bank 40: Northants Steelbacks v Derbyshire Falcons

Cricket Tips


Clydesdale Bank 40 League – Group B
Northants Steelbacks (6th) v Derbyshire Falcons (5th)
Friday 7th May 2010 – 1540hrs
Northants Steelbacks entertain visitors Derbyshire Falcons in a day-nighter at their County Ground on Friday. The Steelers will be unveiling their brand new state-of -the-art floodlights courtesy of Miss Northampton who will be assisting in the switching on ceremony during the interval.
Unfortunately for the Steelbacks, that’s where the bright passage of play will end for them I fear, as the Falcons should win this one quite comfortably despite sharing  bottom place in Group B with hosts Northants.
The Steelbacks started their campaign up against it with losing influential spinner Monty Panesar to Sussex in the off-season, leaving Nicky Boje the skipper as their only real threat in the spin department. First game up then was against Middlesex, and their brittle batting line-up was in evidence immediately as they failed to bat their allotted 40 overs and were skittled out for 146 (35.4 overs)– only veteran batsman David Sales (56) made any impression in their innings. Middlesex wrapped the match up in quick time as they reached the target with only 3 wickets down with over 7 overs to spare.
Northants then travelled to Scarborough where everything was far from Fair, as hosts Yorkshire rattled up a formidable 240-3 in their rain-restricted 30 overs. The Yorkshire batsmen really putting the Northants bowlers to the sword, scoring at an impressive rate of 8 runs per over – right-arm bowler Jack Brooks bearing the brunt as he went for 48 in his 4 overs. In reply, Northants again found themselves in real trouble at 4-3 before Rob White scored a valuable 69 to spare their blushes, but however it was all in vain as Northants were bowled out for a paltry 118. As it was, Yorkshire won by 35 runs in the end via the D/L method.
Let’s take a look at the Steelbacks batting line-up; they will rely heavily on four key players I believe this season – Mal Loye (who has returned from Lancashire, CB40 3 runs at an average of 3.00), South African all-rounder Andrew Hall (CB40 18/9.00), David Sales (CB40 57/28.50) and Rob White (CB40 80/40.00), with skipper Nicky Boje chipping in here and there down the order.
Their bowling department certainly lacks depth, with the slightly expensive David Lucas (CB40 2 wickets at an average of 38.00 – 6.90rpo) likely to lead the attack, backed up by the dependable Andrew Hall (CB40 1/51.00 – 5.10rpo) and the slow-left-arm of Nicky Boje (CB40 0/31.00 – 5.16rpo) the likely contenders. At this early stage though, the alarm bells are starting to ring for the Steelbacks as only off-spinner James Middlebrook (CB40 1/54.00) has conceded at under 5 runs per over (4.50rpo), and as a team, they have only managed to take 5 wickets in two CB40 matches.
Derbyshire Falcons have also lost their first two matches; losing by 51 runs to Gloucestershire where New Zealand opener James Franklin (133*) did for them as the West country side scored 230-5 off their 40 overs. The Falcons fell short at 179 all out (35.3 overs) with contributions from the prolific Chris Rogers (37) and John Sadler (41) the stand-outs.
In their second match, the Falcons fell foul of the weather and also Essex’s Ryan ten Doeschate as the South African turned Dutchman scored an unbeaten rapid  109* off just 62 balls to secure victory via the questionable D/L method. Derbyshire can count themselves a little unlucky though as they scored 299-7 off their 40 overs – a winning total under normal circumstances.
If recent form is anything to go by, then the Falcons look to be in good stead for this match as captain Chris Rogers (CB40 78/39.00) leads by example, with West Indian Chesney Hughes (CB40 72/36.00), Wayne Madsen (CB40 72/36.00) and John Sadler (CB40 65/32.50) all contributing with the bat.
I have no doubts about the batting, but similar to Northants, they look a little light in the bowling – they’ve taken 7 wickets in total so far with right-arm medium pacer Tom Lungley (CB40 3/31.66) 6.78rpo their top wicket-taker. Slow left-arm South African spinner Robin Peterson (CB40 1/59.00) 6.32rpo is perhaps a little unlucky not to be participating in the World Cup T20, but South Africa’s loss could well be Derbyshire’s gain as the season unfolds. Fellow South African paceman and ex-Warwickshire, Tim Groenewald (CB40 2/42.00) 6.46rpo will also be a threat with the ball.
I wouldn’t normally take into account a Championship match, but as these two sides met recently in Division Two I thought it would be prudent to consider that match also; Derbyshire batted first and scored 480-5 declared. They then inserted Northants and the Steelbacks were bowled out for 220 in their first innings and then clung on for dear life at 237-9 in their second dig to avoid an innings defeat and salvaged an undeserved draw.
Derbyshire Falcons should have too much depth in batting and would consider their recent match with Northants a moral victory, so I’m taking them to win this match.
The toss could also be an important factor with a 60% chance of light rain in the afternoon.
Pick: Derbyshire Falcons @ 1.73 with Betfair the best price I could find for now.
Side bet: Take Chris Rogers @ 3.25 with Ladbrokes for top Derbyshire run scorer.