DURHAM coach Jon Lewis refused to blame the Derby pitch after the Dynamos’ hopes of reaching the Yorkshire Bank 40 semi-finals were brought to a disappointing end last night.
Durham suffered a crushing 107-run defeat away to Derbyshire, on a somewhat controversial playing surface at the County Ground.
The game was shown live on Sky TV, and speaking at the end of the clash, commentator Mark Butcher slammed the pitch as “unacceptable”.
While Lewis clearly had his own thoughts about the surface, he refused to condemn it.
“The pitch was tricky. It certainly wasn’t easy, but we probably let them get too many runs, if we are honest,” said Lewis.
“It wasn’t a 220 pitch, and then, having got a little behind the rate early on, the surface had deteriorated and it became nigh on impossible to chase down that sort of total towards the end.”
Asked if he would be putting in a complaint about the state of the pitch, Lewis felt that responsibility lay elsewhere.
He added: “I don’t think it’s down to me to do that.
“There were three experienced umpires at the game, and umpires’ assessors were there as well, so there were plenty of experienced people who could make a judgment on that surface, and of course it was on TV so everyone’s got a chance to see that.”
Despite the pitch, Lewis admitted Durham more than contributed to their own downfall as the hosts made 217-8 frrom their 40 overs.
He said: “They got too many runs, like I say, and that was our doing. We can’t complain about that in any way shape or form.
“Our top order has been a little bit inconsistent and just needed a little bit of confidence, and that wasn’t the sort of pitch you wanted to be going out to when you’re looking for confidence.”
Skipper Wayne Madsen was Derbyshire’s star man.
He made 37, and shared a century stand with Richard Johnson (58), before he ambushed Durham with his off-spin to take 3-27 – his best figures in any form of cricket – as the visitors collapsed .
Durham never recovered after Madsen reduced them to 62-4, and David Wainwright took a limited-overs career-best 4-11 to send the visitors crashing to 110 all out in the 29th over as Derbyshire ended a run of four defeats to Durham this season.
The Dynamos had to win and started well against a weakened Derbyshire team missing Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Wes Durston, leaving their hosts in trouble on 36-3 in the ninth over.
Johnson had a lucky escape when he was caught behind for 17, but Ben Stokes had overstepped and that proved costly as the fourth-wicket pair worked the ball around to add 103 from 114 balls.
Durham have one YB40 match left when they entertain Surrey on Bank Holiday Monday, August 26.
Only the three group winners and the best second-placed team will go through to the semi-finals.