Cricket: Derbyshire in drift to defeat

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98

Worcestershire . . . . . . . . . . . . .100-1

Worcestershire win by nine wickets

HELPED by winning an important toss, Worcestershire outplayed Derbyshire, the holders, to an embarrassing degree in their Benson and Hedges Cup quarter-final here yesterday. Derbyshire's 98 was their lowest total in the competition and reflected how their batsmen were undone by high- class seam bowling on a pitch the Worcestershire attack would like to take around the country with them.

In contrast, Derbyshire began with such a flurry of no- balls, wides and other dross that an offer to go off in the gloom was declined (even though Devon Malcolm was operating at the time) before Worcestershire cruised home, needing 18.2 overs for victory.

Conditions were far from ideal. The pitch, green and damp, had been either exposed to the elements or sweating under the covers, while the temperature was freezing and the light poor.

It all required application and self-discipline beyond Derbyshire, for whom Kim Barnett decided only moments before the start not to risk playing after his cartilage operation. Without his leadership, the side are drifting.

Worcestershire revelled in their hosts' frustrations. Tom Moody took 3 for 14 in his 11 overs. Neal Radford and Phil Newport gave nothing away at the other end. The strokeplayers were, in cricketing parlance, strangled to death. Stuart Lampitt also embarked on a remarkable stint during which, bowling very straight and hitting the pitch hard, he took wickets in each of five successive overs to emerge with 6 for 16 in 30 deliveries.

The only question after that was whether the weather would close in, which was no doubt why Tim Curtis opted to stay on.

Andy Hayhurst, the Somerset captain, yesterday criticised the umpires who allowed Brian Lara to score his fifth successive first-class century for Warwickshire at a soggy Taunton on Monday. 'Lara played magnificently, but it was a farce,' he said. 'The conditions were unplayable.'