Blame the pitch not the players for T20 defeat, say Yorkshire CCC chiefs

OTTIS GIBSON and Shan Masood blamed the pitch for Yorkshire’s chastening T20 defeat at Chesterfield, which left their side with little or no room for error in their bid to reach the quarter-finals.

The head coach and captain were united in their criticism of the Queen’s Park surface after Derbyshire beat Yorkshire by seven wickets.

Gibson described it as “not a pitch for first-class cricket in my opinion” and that “it’s not the first time” it has happened when Yorkshire have visited.

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Masood felt it gave Derbyshire “all the advantage” and consequently it wasn’t “a fair T20” contest.

Not best pleased: Yorkshire head coach Ottis Gibson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comNot best pleased: Yorkshire head coach Ottis Gibson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Not best pleased: Yorkshire head coach Ottis Gibson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Their anger stemmed from the fact that Yorkshire, who lost the toss, were sent into bat on a pitch that was at its most tricky after rain delayed the start by 30 minutes.

Yorkshire felt the surface retained some of its moisture having been under cover and slipped to 21-5 inside the powerplay, losing three wickets in the second over bowled by spinner Alex Thomson.

Although Yorkshire recovered to reach 130-9 from their 20 overs, with Donovan Ferreira, the South African batsman, top-scoring with 44 having been dropped on four, Derbyshire strolled home with five overs left, with Yorkshire sliding to seventh in the nine-team North Group - three points outside the quarter-final places with four games to go, with two points on offer for a win.

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It was Yorkshire’s seventh successive T20 defeat at Chesterfield, a sequence that goes back to 2015 - interrupted only by a fixture at Derby in 2016 which, ironically, Yorkshire won.

Shan Masood echoed Ottis Gibson's comments concerning the Chesterfield pitch. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.Shan Masood echoed Ottis Gibson's comments concerning the Chesterfield pitch. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.
Shan Masood echoed Ottis Gibson's comments concerning the Chesterfield pitch. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.

“Since I’ve been here, the couple of times I’ve come (to Chesterfield), if you lose the toss, you lose the game,” reflected head coach Gibson.

“To me, it was a less than average pitch; it was not a pitch for first-class cricket in my opinion.

"I know we lost, and it might sound like sour grapes, but it’s not the first time.

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“It’s nice to come out to these locations, and to try and play and spread the game and whatever, but you still need a good pitch to have a good cricket match, and that wasn’t a good pitch.”

Spectators huddle beneath umbrellas at Queen's Park, Chesterfield. Yorkshire felt that a rain delay there - and the consequent spicing up of the wicket due to moisture in the pitch - cost them Sunday's T20 match. Photo: John Heald.Spectators huddle beneath umbrellas at Queen's Park, Chesterfield. Yorkshire felt that a rain delay there - and the consequent spicing up of the wicket due to moisture in the pitch - cost them Sunday's T20 match. Photo: John Heald.
Spectators huddle beneath umbrellas at Queen's Park, Chesterfield. Yorkshire felt that a rain delay there - and the consequent spicing up of the wicket due to moisture in the pitch - cost them Sunday's T20 match. Photo: John Heald.

Gibson continued: “The way the ball was spinning… some were keeping low, some were bouncing.

"We got 200 two nights earlier on a good pitch (against Birmingham at Headingley), so this gives the batsmen the impression that they’re not playing very well.

“It was not a good advert for the T20 Blast in my opinion.

"We did well to get to 130 at the end of the day, then they came out and had nothing to lose, had a swing, got away with it and got lucky and did exactly what they needed to do to win, so fair play to them, taking nothing away.”

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Masood, who was stumped for a golden duck in Thomson’s three-wicket over, felt that the match should have been a reduced overs affair. As it was, the delay was not sufficiently long for that to apply.

“The game should never have been a 20-over game; they should have given it more time to dry out,” said Masood.

“Otherwise, the team batting second has all the advantage.

“My report of the game - and it’s my feedback to the match officials - is that it was a game of two halves: completely different when we were batting, and completely different when they were batting.

“It’s not an excuse, but even if we’d managed 160/170 it wouldn’t have been enough.

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"My point is that if it’s rained so close to the game and the pitch has been under cover, it absorbs a lot of moisture.”

Wayne Madsen, the Derbyshire batsman, suggested that the hosts had simply adapted better to conditions.

The veteran led his team home with an unbeaten 30.

“Our record is pretty good here,” said Madsen.

“We seem to adapt well to the conditions and play with a lot of confidence when we come here.”

However, Madsen did concede that there was help on offer for the Derbyshire spinners.

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“I think from being under the covers the pitch was a little bit tacky early doors and that’s why ‘Tommo’ (Thomson) and Samit (Patel) were able to get the ball to grip, which certainly helped us,” he said.

“It did spin a lot and then it didn’t do as much later on in the game, but first up with a harder ball it was gripping.”

The bottom line, though, as Gibson and Masood acknowledged, is that it was another loss and a blow to Yorkshire’s hopes of reaching the knockouts.

Time is running out for them to overturn the gap to fourth-placed Durham, who they meet at Headingley on Thursday before facing second-placed Lancashire at Old Trafford the following day.

Yorkshire play bottom club Worcestershire at New Road on Sunday before finishing their group campaign against second-bottom Nottinghamshire at Headingley on Friday week.

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