Monday, July 25th, 2022


Dillon Pennington’s deadly new ball burst with the new ball, and Kashif Ali’s half-century on his first class debut gave Worcestershire the initiative on the opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Derbyshire at New Road.

Pennington helped reduce Derbyshire to 14-5 with four wickets in the space of 18 balls after they had been put in to bat and, despite a half-century from Anuj Dal, they were bowled out for 130 in 51.1 overs.

The pace bowler clearly enjoys bowling against Derbyshire after registering career-best figures of 5-32 and a match return of 9-76 in the corresponding game last season.

Ed Barnard, 3-18, gave him fine support, and there was also a promising debut from Pakistan pace bowler Muhammad Hussain, who cleaned up the tail with some fiery and accurate bowling.

Worcestershire also had initial challenges when they launched their reply, but Kashif seized his chance following a mountain of runs for the Second Eleven.

He and Jack Haynes lifted Worcestershire into the lead before both being dismissed just before the premature close on 141-5 when bad light and then rain halted play at 5.35pm.

Kashif was the first product of the South Asian Cricket Academy to sign a professional contract with a first class county earlier this season.

Three hundred and four fifties in his last seven knocks for the Seconds was a testament to his potential, reaching a 72-ball half-century.

But he became one of several players on both sides during the day who lost their wicket to a loose shot, although there was enough movement on a greenish pitch to keep the seamers interested.

Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira was ruled out with a back injury, and Vice-Captain, Jake Libby, led the side while Derbyshire were unchanged from the team which drew with Nottinghamshire.

Libby won the toss, and his bowlers soon justified his decision to put Derbyshire into bat.

Joe Leach struck with the last ball of the opening over as Harry Came was plumb lbw to a ball of full length.

But it was Pennington who broke the back of the Derbyshire top order with a superb opening burst of 4-2-3-4.

Brooke Guest (2) was bowled, offering no shot to a ball angled in and then Wayne Madsen, who began the day needing 32 runs to reach 1,000 for the season, did not reduce that tally as he edged as delivery which nipped away to Josh Baker at fourth slip.

Luis Reece (1) and Hilton Cartwright (0) were both caught behind by Gareth Roderick after pushing forward to Pennington.

Derbyshire captain, Leus du Plooy, opted for an aggressive response and dominated the scoring during a sixth-wicket stand of 39 with Anuj Dal.

But Barnard made further inroads with wickets in successive overs.

Du Plooy, on 38, played with an angled bat at a delivery and gave Baker another catch, this time at third slip, and Mattie McKiernan offered no shot but inside-edged onto the stumps.

Derbyshire were then 53-7 and in danger of being bowled out before lunch, but resistance came from Dal and Ben Aitchinson.

They added 56 in 22 overs before Barnard came back into the attack and had Aitchinson nibbling at a delivery which Roderick safely pouched.

Dal mixed solid defence with some classy shots and two cuts for four off spinner Josh Baker enabled him to complete a 104-ball half-century with eight boundaries.

Hasnain had bowled two threatening spells without any luck but cleaned up the tail in classic fast bowler’s fashion as he yorked both Sam Conners and Dal.

Worcestershire also ran into early difficulties against the new ball and found themselves 23-3 in the fifth over.

Conners knocked out Libby’s off stump with a ball which nipped back, and Ed Pollock, having struck Aitchinson for six over mid-wicket, tried to uppercut his next ball and was caught behind.

Taylor Cornall flicked at a leg-side delivery from Conners and also found the gloves of Guest.

But the game’s momentum switched into Worcestershire’s favour as Haynes and Kashif counter-attacked during a stand of 97 in 18.4 overs.

Haynes reeled off a succession of delightful cover drives and flicks off his legs whilst Kashif produced a series of back foot punches which pierced the field.

The pair took Worcestershire into the lead before Haynes (48) edged a wide ball from Conners through to Guest.

Kashif flicked Scrimshaw through mid-wicket to complete an excellent half-century from 72 balls with his ninth boundary.

But the former Worcestershire bowler then dismissed Kashif when Guest caught a nick from another widish ball.