Derbyshire go into their second game of the T20 Blast today (Friday) aiming to show they can finally make an impact in the competition.
The county has never appeared at finals day and has only qualified for the quarter-finals once but last Saturday’s crushing victory over defending champions Lancashire at Old Trafford has raised hopes that this year could be different.
A nine wicket win with 33 balls to spare was a superb all-round performance and one that means the Falcons will go into this evening’s game at Northampton full of confidence.
Derbyshire’s T20 captain Wes Durston said: “I think in the last seven years since I’ve been here that was probably the best victory we’ve had in the T20.
“It was an all-round, complete performance, we bowled well, fielded well and the run chase was very professional so it was an excellent start to the campaign.
“They are a very good squad and on the back of winning the competition last year, it kind of put pressure on them in that they are defending champions but we’ve got a very strong group of players and we proved that on Saturday afternoon.”
Although Derbyshire lost 10 matches last season, they should have turned at least three of those defeats into victories and Durston believes they will be better equipped to get over the line this summer.
“Our record in the T20 is there to be seen and it’s our job as players and my job as captain to put that right. Last year we made improvements and this year our aim is to again improve and become much more competitive in many more games.
“Last year we knew we were disappointing in that there were three games we should have won and come out with seven victories which would have put us close to qualification.
“We can maybe put that down a little bit to inexperience and lack of skill at the time in those pressure situations but we know that we can use that as motivation this year if we get into those positions again.”
Hamish Rutherford made an unbeaten 71 off only 40 balls and his New Zealand team mates Neil Broom and Jamie Neesham also figured in the win over Lancashire.
“The three Kiwi lads will bring a totally different vibe to the team,” Durston said. “To play international cricket you not only have to have talent but also have to be able to deal with pressure.
“The fact they’ve done that and bring that to our club can only be of benefit to the team. Last season if you look at those three games we didn’t win, they were all chasing down scores, so now we’ve got Ruthers to open the batting, Neil to bat three and Jimmy will bat in the top six so that’s an area that we’ve improved our standard.”