No worries for Warwickshire

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire 193 Warwickshire 194-2 Warwicks win by eight wickets

This mis-match projected Warwickshire into the Benson and Hedges Cup quarter-finals with a lavish victory with more than half of their overs remaining.

Neil Smith, the gold award winner, made 80 from 53 balls as he shared the record opening partnership in the competition's 25-year history of 162 from 19 overs with Nick Knight.

Shaun Pollock, the South African Test all-rounder, returned 5 for 38, while Warwickshire's other delights inclu- ded Knight scoring 91 from 72 balls as Derbyshire's attack suffered indignities. Devon Malcolm conceded 54 runs from five overs, illustrating that maybe the county game does have logical first and second divisions, as supported by Dennis Amiss, Warwickshire's chief executive.

This was still the cup and it seemed like it - some upstart challenging the team that had won five titles in the previous two years. All was well when Dean Jones and John Owen added 105 in 24 overs for the third wicket. A challenging total of 260 seemed feasible, yet Derbyshire's rapidly dwindling day meant that their last six wickets tumbled for 61 runs.

The match finished with a leg-side delivery from Kim Barnett costing four wides but the contest had ended much earlier. Jones had even employed his own off-spin as, at 55 for 0, the new captain, with a hands-on approach, put himself willingly in the firing line. Predictably, it failed because Warwickshire are the archetypal professionals as a unit. Not many England honours to show for their collective talents but a players' co-operative that verges on the unbeatable.

Pollock already loves Edgbaston and the crowd's feeling is mutual. Derbyshire fell to 27 for 2 after winning the toss, losing Barnett and Chris Adams to catches at the wicket from Pollock's bowling, the second from a screaming lifter.

John Owen, Derby-born, a rarity nowadays for a player appearing for that county, responded to the Jones clarion-call with 49 from 79 balls before being bowled, giving himself room for the cut, by Neil Smith.

Much depended on Phillip DeFreitas, but his brief innings ended in a familiar way, a lofted catch, as Derbyshire departed from the competition that they won three summers ago.