Coach Karl Krikken takes comfort despite Derbyshire t20 final defeat by Nottinghamshire
ALL signs pointed to a Nottinghamshire victory in the final of the Barbados Cup t20 final at the Kensington Oval and that was how it worked out.
With seven players out of contention – five of whom would surely have been on the team sheet – the Falcons could not match their outstanding semi-final success against Warwickshire and were comfortably beaten by powerful opposition.
The Outlaws took the trophy by seven wickets with 39 balls to spare but head coach Karl Krikken said he was more than satisfied with the way his patched-up side handled a demanding schedule of three t20 games in 30 hours.
"I'm really chuffed with the attitude and application of the lads," he said. "They fought to protect every run and tried to score off every ball they could but it wasn't quite there in the final.
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"We were beaten by the better team but when you look at the team sheet, they had five internationals and some of the guys in a very young side had never played under lights before.
"We knew it was going to be a hard game. We lost too many wickets around 10-11 overs and battled to 114, which we thought was a decent total but we really needed early wickets.
"If we could get through the first six overs taking a wicket or two to leave them needing five and a half an over, we felt we had a chance but Hales and Lumb played well at the top of the order and it wasn't to be."
Batting first after Tim Groenewald won the toss, the Falcons were in trouble at 57-6 in the 12th over before Richard Johnson (35 not out) and Tony Palladino (19 not out) took them to a challenging 114-6 total on a wicket that got increasingly slow and hard to score on as the day went on.
Derbyshire's bowling discipline was mostly good through the tournament but Alex Hales and Michael Lumb, England internationals and t20 guns for hire, did not allow them a sniff of the early breakthrough the Falcons bowlers needed.
By the time their opening stand was broken at 69 at the start of the ninth over, the contest was practically over but watching how established t20 specialists went about their business can only do his players good, said Krikken.
"It's something for our lads to aspire to and that's part of the plan – to get some of our lads in the international side. Ross Whiteley hit 63 in 38 balls in the semi-final and he looked like an England player."
Krikken also praised Chesterfield-born left-hander Ben Slater, the 21-year-old academy product who came to the tour from spending the winter in Zimbabwe with Southern Rocks under Dave Houghton, scoring 89 on his first-class debut for them.
Scores of 15 in the semi-final and 16 in the final appears to be no great shakes but Slater responded with poise to being sent in at number three against high-quality bowling.
"Ben Slater played magnificently," said Krikken. "He played really well for Southern Rocks in the twenty20 and his stats for them in the first-class were really good.
"He's on a summer contract with us because the season before didn't work out as well as he wanted to but he's come down every day and worked hard in the nets with Houts and myself and that's why he's on the trip.
"Batting at three is hard but he didn't look out of place at all."
Derbyshire return to the longer format today, with two days against Notts at North Stars to complete the competitive element of their Barbados tour.
Krikken expects most of the players held back on precautionary grounds for the t20s to play over the two days but for two members of their squad, the tour is already over.
Paul Borrington took a blow to the side of the head close to his jaw and eye socket in the field on Saturday and is to catch an early flight home, while the scans sent back to Derby of Dan Redfern's dislocated finger have also revealed a fracture.
"We'll see the specialist when we get home. It might be not that bad and he can play with it but until we get to see the specialist we don't know," said Krikken.
Captain Wayne Madsen will see action for the first time on the tour after giving his groin injury time to recover. Wes Durston pulled out of t20 finals day with a sore back, Jon Clare edged a ball on to the inside of his knee in the nets and David Wainwright was left out while his back trouble is monitored but all are fit enough to face Notts.
Tom Knight's shoulder injury will be assessed to see if he can take part in a spare squads game while the Notts match is being played.