T20 BLAST 2019
In 2017, Derbyshire reached the quarterfinals and they have gone one better this time around. © Getty
Derbyshire may have lost their Blast semifinal against Essex in disappointing fashion at Edgbaston but captain Billy Godleman said he was proud of his team’s campaign, one that saw them reach Finals Day for the first time.
Before this season, Derbyshire were the only county who had not reached the semifinal stage of the Blast but qualification this year has been further evidence of their T20 improvement over the past three years. That progress has come after the club decided they had had enough with their failure to make an impression in T20 cricket and put more emphasis on success in the shortest format.
In 2017, Derbyshire reached the quarterfinals and they have gone one better this time around. “Disappointed to lose,” Godleman said on Saturday (September 21). “But we are very proud, very happy about the accomplishment of making it to Finals Day. It’s bittersweet at the moment because you get here, you are part of the day and it’s such a great atmosphere. You think it’s two games of cricket and you can lift the trophy.
“Once this 24-48 hours passes by, the real context of what we’ve done as a club – playing with only one overseas player, giving opportunities to our homegrown, talented cricketers and being able to beat a lot of big counties home and away – we are really proud.
“It was two years ago that we made a quarterfinal and we got beat up quite badly by Hampshire. This year we made a quarterfinal and we won convincingly. Some of the guys who played in the defeat to Hampshire gained from that experience. Hopefully, next year or in the next 24 months, we can make another Finals Day and draw upon this experience.”
On a slow pitch which spun sharply, Derbyshire were bundled out for 126 in pursuit of Essex’s 160 and struggled to come to terms with Simon Harmer and Aaron Nijjar, the opposing spinners, who combined for seven wickets between them. Godleman admitted that his team did not adapt to the surface as well as they might have done.
“I thought there was excessive turn which provides challenges to hit boundaries,” he said. “But our job as professionals is to adapt to whatever conditions we are given and try and find a way to be effective. Unfortunately for us, Essex were a lot better at that today than we were.
“I thought with the way Alex [Hughes], Lewis [Reece] and Matthew [Critchley] bowled, taking pace off in the middle [for Derbyshire], I could see it would be difficult against their spinners in the second half of the game. Anything over 140 would be difficult.”