The sun beating down on Manchester certainly wasn’t reflective of the way David Haye failed to brighten up a dour Hamburg evening last night. However it was certainly pathetic fallacy with how the afternoon would unfold for Lancashire County Cricket Club.
At Old Trafford, Derbyshire were the visitors for my first intake of live T20 cricket. A version of the game which has done much to bring the sport more into the mainstream- against the better nature of the cricket ‘purists’. This was reflected amongst the clientèle. Think more England football away day than Observer readers over Sunday brunch. Forgive my stereotyping.
Captained by former Lancs wicket keeper Luke Sutton you’d be forgiven for thinking he would have Derbyshire ready to burst into action. Burst into action they did not. In fact they did the complete opposite as they fell apart amidst the Lancashire heatwave.
Junaid Khan, 21, was the pick of the Red Rose’s bowlers. Tipped off to the club by Wasim Akram he ended with figures of 3-12 off his four overs- as Derbyshire were both impressively and embarrassingly skittled for a meagre 81.
Lancashire’s response was prompt. It was almost as if Stephen Moore and Tom Smith had better things to be doing with their Sunday evening the way they set about hunting down their target of 82.
Moore smashed 54 off just 33 deliveries whilst Smith weighed in with 26 from 21. It saw Lancashire cruise home in just nine overs, and ensured they still had plenty of time to enjoy the beaming sunshine.
Whether T20 has enhanced the sport as required, or tinted the image of a gentleman’s game is neither here nor there for me anymore. The performances of Junaid and Moore alone were enough to demonstrate that technique and skill is just as relevant across all formats of cricket. Long may they continue to co-exist.