Wayne Madsen praises Derbyshire Falcons spin king Matt Critchley

Matt Critchley
Matt Critchley

The spin bowler is a big weapon in any team’s armoury in Twenty20 cricket and Matt Critchley has played a key role in Derbyshire reaching the Vitality Blast Finals.

The spin bowler is a big weapon in any team’s armoury in Twenty20 cricket and Matt Critchley has played a key role in Derbyshire reaching the Vitality Blast Finals.

Before the emphatic quarter-final win over Gloucestershire at Bristol on Saturday evening, Derbyshire were the only county not to qualify for Finals Day.

That is now behind them as the Falcons look ahead to a day at Edgbaston on Saturday, September 21 and a semi-final against Essex Eagles.

The seven-wicket win at Bristol was again down to another clinical bowling performance in which Critchley's contribution has grown as the tournament has progressed.

His leg-spin earned him impressive figures of two for 21, taking his tally to 17 wickets and was another demonstration of the control he has maintained in the middle overs.

Wayne Madsen, who led the chase on Saturday with 47 from 37 balls, appreciates the influence Critchley has exerted.

"Even after they got off to a good start we knew we could shut down in that middle period with Critch who has been outstanding in the second half of the competition when he's been our number one spinner,” he said.

"He's really stood up. He bowls at a good pace and he's bowling into the wicket a bit more. Playing at home at Derby can be difficult for a spinner because of the short boundaries straight and I think that's what he's adapted to.

"He's bowled into the wicket to try and get hit square and that's also helped in the away games. We've really put the squeeze on the momentum of the opposition in the last four wins we've had."

Derbyshire's bowling unit, led by the experienced Ravi Rampaul whose 22 wickets is the highest for the county in a T20 campaign, has demonstrated the progress the team has made under the guidance of coach Dominic Cork.

"We are certainly better prepared as a team now," Madsen said.

"We've found a decent combination in terms of what we do with both bat and ball, especially with the ball in the last few games we really have been excellent.

"The batters have been given a platform to go and chase scores and also set totals that we know with the ball we can defend."

The manner in which Derbyshire have progressed also shows they will be genuine contenders a week on Saturday.

"The most important thing going into the quarter-final is that we were really calm and composed and that stood us in good stead,” Madsen said.

"We didn't over-analysis and over-think things too much, we went in with the similar mindset that we had in the previous few games.

"It's certainly a special achievement for us but it's only the first part of the plan that we've done which was to get through to Finals Day. We've got a lot more to come and now we want to make sure we go on and win it."