Anuj Dal five-for puts Worcestershire on the back foot

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By Webdesk


Derbyshire 32 for 2 trails Worchestershire 237 (Libby 78, Dal 5-45) by 205 runs

Anuj Dal once again entertained himself at Worcestershire’s expense, as bottom-place Derbyshire put their injury problems in the bowling department behind them, causing a collapse for the home side on the first day of the LV=Insurance County Championship meeting at New Road.

Dal had scored one hundred and fifty plus a five-for in the corresponding game in 2022 after scoring a century in the game between the teams at Incora County Ground. He continued in that vein, returning figures of 18.3-5-45-5 as Worcestershire, who were 105 for 1 at one point, was dismissed for 237 in 83.3 overs.

The Peakites were without front line bowlers Saranga Lakmal, Zak Chappell and Sam Conners and in addition Ben Aitchison limped off after being unable to complete an over. But Derbyshire, who signed Surrey’s Conor McKerr on loan for a third spell at the club, stuck to the task against a Worcestershire side who had fitness problems of their own.

Club captain Brett D’Oliveira, Jack Haynes and Kashif Ali were all ruled out and it marked a debut for rookie pro Rehaan Edavalath alongside India pace bowler Navdeep Saini.

Substitute skipper Jake Libby continued his rich form by top-scoring with 78, taking his run count to 373 in his last three strokes. But only fellow openers Gareth Roderick and Adam Hose offered him much substantial support.

Saini, who played for Kent in the Championship last summer, struck with his first pitch to dismiss Harry Came and Derbyshire finished 32 for 2 after losing to Luis Reece to Dillon Pennington’s last pitch of the day.

Libby chose to bat after winning the coin toss and he and Roderick scored free against the Kookaburra ball used during the next two rounds of championship games.

They completed their third successive half-century stand since joining forces at the top of the league table in the previous Championship game against Sussex. The partnership was worth 70 when Roderick was thrown through the gate by Aitchison with a pitch that bounced back.

The game began to swing in Derbyshire’s favor when Azhar Ali was sent off to the final episode before lunch when he drove to Dal and was caught slipping.

Edavalath came out for his first innings early in the afternoon session, but lasted just three balls before missing a straight delivery from Dal and lbw for naught.

Libby completed an excellent 106-ball half-century with a push through the covers for two from Dal who threw a probing 10 over a spell either side of lunch of 10-2-32-2.

Hose was on top form in Championship and T20 cricket and once again looked good and helped Libby add 54 in a carefree manner. But Hose forced Nick Potts to slip and Libby’s fine knock was brought to an end by Dal, while keeper Brooke Guest held onto the chance. Libby has now scored 614 first-class runs this summer, the third highest in Division Two.

Ed Pollock, recalled to the Championship side, went head down but was sent off to the last ball before tea when he slid his arms towards Dal and was bowled.

Matthew Waite showed a positive after the break and skipped Aitchison for three boundaries in the first to bring in the 200. But he was bowled on 19 by McKerr’s delivery that came far back.

Joe Leach tamely clamped McKerr in the mid-wicket hands and Josh Baker pushed forward to Luis Reece and was bowled. Dal completed his five-for, shattering Pennington’s stumps.

Saini got off to the perfect start when Came had no chance on a pitch aimed diagonally at him and was bowled, then Reece pushed Pennington’s last pitch of the day into first slip.



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