Match-winner Mark Footitt says it was the fear of letting his team-mates down that inspired him to perform late heroics versus Hampshire Royals yesterday.
The 26-year-old left-arm paceman took three wickets, all of them clean bowled, in the final over of yesterday’s Barbados Twenty20 Plate Final to secure a dramatic one-run victory for the Derbyshire tourists.
Footitt’s overall figures were 4 for 11. And despite showing nerves of steel to outgun the Hampshire lower-order when it really mattered, Footitt admits he was feeling the pressure.
He said: “When I conceded five runs with a no-ball off the first ball of the last over, I thought ‘oh no’ and they only needed five more with all six balls still remaining.
“The pressure was on and I knew I had to do something special if we were going to win the game.
“I had been given the job of bowling a tight over and stopping them from winning and I didn’t want to let the lads down.
“I told Wayne I was going to bowl Yorkers; get it in the block hole and try to stop them scoring that way.
“We set a field according to that plan, everything came out nicely just at the right time and thank God it came off.
“If we bat well, field like we have done in the past couple of days and I can keep bowling like that for ten matches, hopefully we can get somewhere in Friends Life t20 this season. The lads certainly believe it is possible.”
Derbyshire’s day actually began with heroics from the batting line-up as a total of 213-3 proved to be far too much for the Barbados XI in the qualifying fixture for the Plate Final.
Footitt praised the performances of the batsmen; and also says bowling in the game at Carlton was ideal preparation for what was to follow at the Kensington Oval.
“The batting was absolutely brilliant; a very good performance. We spoke about one of the top four scoring big runs and two of them did it.
“The lads at the top of the order applied themselves, they didn’t try to hit too many big shots and we let them make mistakes, which certainly paid off.
“Ross Whiteley (who scored 75 off 34 balls) hits a very clean ball. He is one of the cleanest hitters I’ve ever seen and he could be a massive asset in Twenty20 cricket; not just for his batting, but for his bowling and fielding too.
“After posting such a big total, we thought we were onto a winner when we took three wickets in the first couple of overs, but there was still a little bit to do.
“You never know if somebody is going to come out and smash it all over the place, but it was certainly an excellent start and the game was almost won by the time I came on to bowl.
“I basically took is as having a practice game, working on executing my skills. I was trying to hit my Yorkers, trying to get my slower-balls right and basically being ready for the second game of the day.”
The preparation was about to pay off big time, but not before Madsen had given the Falcons a sniff with a resourceful half-century, taking the total to 138-7 after an initial collapse to 88-5.
“Wayne is one of the best middle-order one-day cricketers in England at the moment,” Footitt said.
“He’s such a good player of spin. He just knocks them around, rotates the strike, hits the boundary now and again and he seems to get to 40 or 50 in no time, without necessarily any big hitting.”
Despite Madsen’s best efforts, a Derbyshire victory looked a very long shot indeed as Hampshire cruised to 50-0 off seven overs, prior to the introduction of David Wainwright and Chesney Hughes who took five wickets between them to keep the Falcons in the hunt.
“There’s always belief because Twenty20 cricket can change all of a sudden,” Footitt said. “It can go full circle in the blink of an eye.
“As long as we kept bowling well and competing in the field, we always believed we could win.
“David and Chesney did absolutely brilliantly. They took wickets when we needed them and kept it tight. It got us back in the game.”
Footitt, as they say, did the rest and – despite counting for no league points when the season gets underway next month – he believes it’s an important result.
“It gives us a massive confidence boost knowing that - if we play to our full potential – we can beat anyone in county cricket.
“We are a good, honest, hard-working side. There are no superstars, nobody plays for England or anything like that, we all work for each other and – on our day – we are a match for anyone.”
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