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Derbyshire vs Kent: Day 4 report

Last night I suggested that there were two ways that the final day of this game could go. Kent could have batted all day to accrue some batting points, or they could have declared overnight and faced a run chase on the final afternoon.I didn't mention ...

Robert Key

Last night I suggested that there were two ways that the final day of this game could go. Kent could have batted all day to accrue some batting points, or they could have declared overnight and faced a run chase on the final afternoon.

I didn’t mention the option chosen by Rob Key, because it seemed a non-starter. Scoring quickly enough on a slow track to force a win seemed unlikely, and the final decision, to declare 117 runs on and opt to try and bowl us out in just under fifty overs, seemed a tad optimistic.

Oh, they managed it in the first innings, on a wicket that had been under covers for thirty hours and would have given encouragement to a semi-decent club attack. But today the sun shone, the wind blew and after forty-five minutes of play, in which Kent had struggled to 30-2 in eleven overs, the moisture left the pitch and it became considerably easier to bat.

That being the case, I’d suggest that Key’s declaration, far from being imaginative and bold, as described over on Cricinfo, was less that than dumb, perhaps combined with a hint of naivety and disrespect.

Did he really think, on such a wicket, that he could bowl out Derbyshire a second time? A pitch that was now dry offered few alarms, and Stephen Moore and Paul Borrington did what you would expect your opening batsman to do on such a wicket. They batted Kent out of the game and saw the game to an early conclusion.

After it, Key said that the wicket was ‘unbelievably flat’ after the tribulations of the second day. For me, that makes the declaration even more odd. To expect Derbyshire to roll over and his bowlers to do better than ours had was just daft.

In the circumstances, having failed to agree on a declaration target with Wayne Madsen in the morning, he should have let his batsmen find form. He should have let Brendan Nash make a century and allowed his side to progress, probably with considerable serenity, to maximum batting points.

He missed out on four points that could be crucial at the end of the season. Sorry, I don’t think that good cricket in the slightest.

Anyway, we got a first opening century stand of the season, which will give confidence to both  Moore and Borrington. They are players of contrasting but equally valuable merit, and I like a pairing where you have a stroke player and a ‘sticker’ together. I would like to see it given a good, long run, as I think it will work.

Why? Because both can play.

More from me tomorrow, when I will tell you my T20 side…

Published with permission from Steve Dolman.

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