Thursday, April 15th, 2021


Worcestershire CCC fought back strongly in the final session when there were two wickets in two balls for overseas signing Alzarri Joseph on the opening day of the LV=County Championship match with Derbyshire at the Incora County Ground.
The West Indian paceman had Fynn Hudson-Prentice (6) caught behind, and then his next delivery trapped Michael Cohen (0) lbw in his final over of the day.
Joseph, who is available for seven Championship matches, ended with 2-86 from his 18 overs.
Ed Barnard also struck twice in two balls as four wickets fell after tea, and Worcestershire claimed two bowling points.
Dillon Pennington and Brett D’Oliveira impressed with the ball throughout the day after Derbyshire were put into bat.
Paceman Pennington asked plenty of questions of all the Derbyshire batsmen in a series of testing spells, and he deserved more than his one wicket in 19 tireless overs.
Leg spinner D’Oliveira also again exercised great control with figures of 1-41 from 19 overs after his excellent performance against Essex.
A chanceless century from Matt Critchley and 98 from Leus du Plooy was primarily responsible for Derbyshire totalling 360-8 in 100 overs as a total of five chances of varying degrees of difficulty were not accepted in the cold conditions.
Joseph came into the side for Charlie Morris in the one change from the team which had earned a creditable draw against Essex.
Club Captain Joe Leach won the toss and elected to bowl first on a green-tinged pitch – and he broke through in his first over.
Derbyshire opener Luis Reece (3) played across a delivery slanted back into him and was lbw with four runs on the board.
New batsman Du Plooy was given a searching examination by Pennington, who shared the new ball.
The quick bowler squared him up before he had scored and edged a delivery that was not held onto low down at fourth slip.
Du Plooy on 14 nicked another testing ball from Pennington, which went through the hands of third slip at head height, and Billy Godleman survived a chance on three low down at point off Leach.
Joseph came into the attack on a cold morning in conditions in sharp contrast to the 80 degrees plus heat in which he had last bowled in the Caribbean against Sri Lanka two weeks ago.
The 24-year-old came close to claiming a wicket in his first over when Godleman edged a legside delivery just past Ben Cox’s dive for four.
Du Plooy completed a 78 ball half-century containing seven boundaries as Derbyshire reached 117-1 off 30 overs by lunch.
Leach returned to the attack after the resumption, and Godleman reached his half-century with a boundary at his expense – but the bowler had his revenge in the same over.
Godleman was undone by a delivery that moved and left him, and Cox pulled off an excellent low catch in front of first slip to end a stand of 137 in 34 overs with Du Plooy.
Pennington picked up a deserved wicket when Wayne Madsen (1) could not handle a ball that bounced and left him, and Daryl Mitchell held onto a head-high catch at second slip.
D’Oliveira again settled into a good rhythm and gave little away before he ended Du Plooy’s innings two runs short of his century.
He tried to pull the leg spinner but failed to make contact and was bowled at 217-4 in the 56th over.
Matt Critchley’s third successive fifty-plus score of the season came off 67 balls as the home side moved onto 249-4 off 64 overs by tea.
Pennington continued to bowl impressively without any good fortune. Harvey Hosein inside-edged him for four either side of escapes he experienced off Leach to chances at mid-wicket and short cover.
Barnard came back to strike twice in two balls, trapping Critchley lbw for 109 and accounting for Anuj Dal (0) in the same manner.
Joseph was then rewarded for his efforts with his late double breakthrough as Worcestershire’s perseverance paid off.