Dal denies Northants as Derbyshire cling on for share of the spoils in a thriller

Rob Keogh claimed five wickets, but couldn't force a Northants victory at DerbyRob Keogh claimed five wickets, but couldn't force a Northants victory at Derby
Rob Keogh claimed five wickets, but couldn't force a Northants victory at Derby
Anuj Dal blocked Northamptonshire’s path to victory as Derbyshire emerged with an unlikely draw from the Vitality County Championship Division Two match at Derby.

Northants were on course for a first win of the season at tea when Derbyshire crumbled to 149 for seven chasing an improbable 371 for victory, but Dal’s unbeaten 31 from 139 balls denied them.

Zak Chappell played a big part with 72 in a stand of 108 in 32 overs with Dal and although Rob Keogh took five for 62 with his off-spin, Derbyshire clung on to close on 261 for nine.

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Northants had declared on 310 for three after scoring 115 from only 13 overs in the morning thanks to Emilo Gay’s unbeaten 153 and 55 from Karun Nair.

The visitors made their intentions clear from the first ball of the day which Nair drove to the cover boundary and the foot was pressed hard on the accelerator for the rest of the innings.

Nair pulled Blair Tickner for another four to reach his 50 from 42 balls before Gay went to a splendid hundred by dispatching Daryn Dupavillon for his ninth four.

It had come off only 130 balls and included an array of strokes on both sides of the wicket, the best of which was a straight drive for six off Tickner.

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The pair had added 124 from 105 balls and taken the lead past 300 when Nair lost his middle stump swinging at Dupavillon but there was no respite for the Derbyshire bowlers as Northants charged towards a declaration.

Gay and George Bartlett plundered 67 from 50 balls before Luke Proctor called them in leaving Derbyshire with a stiff target or more realistically 81 overs to survive.

David Lloyd began positively by clipping Proctor through midwicket for two fours but the Derbyshire skipper was dismissed before lunch when Ben Sanderson had him caught at fourth slip off one that moved away.

Derbyshire needed a substantial partnership to have any chance of chasing the runs down but just when one was starting to show promise, it was broken.

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Brooke Guest was caught behind driving at Liam Patterson-White who took an excellent catch running from deep midwicket when Wayne Madsen went for a big slog sweep at Keogh.

That signalled an alarming decline in which four wickets fell to the spinners for only 17 runs in nine overs.

Keogh got some drift to beat Reece’s defensive push, Aneurin Donald drove Patterson White low to short cover before Matt Lamb missed a sweep and was lbw.

When Ross Whiteley turned the last ball before tea from Keogh into the hands of forward short leg, the visitors were closing in on victory but they were frustrated by resolute batting from Dal and Chappell.

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Dal looked increasingly secure while Chappell combined defence with some flashing strokes to reach 50 which contained 10 fours from 61 balls.

Patterson-White eventually broke through when Chappell chipped to midwicket and Tickner survived 21 balls before Keogh bowled him.

But although Northants claimed a second new ball, they could not break Dal’s resistance as Derbyshire emerged from a tense finale with a spirited draw.

The result saw Derbyshire claim 12 points and Northants 13, with the County moving up to fifth in the table while Derbyshire remain rooted to the bottom.

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