Falcons relish prospect of facing McCullum

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The presence of one of the game’s top players in the opposition dressing room could help Derbyshire spring a NatWest T20 Blast surprise tomorrow night (Friday).

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has boosted the Birmingham Bears who are top of the North Group while the Falcons are bottom of the table.

But Falcons all-rounder Shiv Thakor believes the prospect of facing the destructive batting power of McCullum is one his team are relishing.

Last week’s impressive victory over local rivals Nottingham Outlaws has still given Derbyshire an outside chance of making the quarter-finals in a tight group where only four points separate the Falcons from second place.

“Everyone is looking forward to playing against (Brendon) McCullum, we all want to play against the best players in the world and he is clearly one of them in this format of the game,” Thakor said.

“We are really excited about the game, it will be a brilliant occasion and a good test of our skills against McCullum’s and also against a very good Birmingham team.”

Derbyshire’s inconsistency has held them back with the comprehensive defeat of Notts coming after a shocking display at Worcester.

Thakor said: “We are all looking forward to the game, we’re coming off a brilliant win against Notts and we want to take that momentum into this game now.

“It was a performance that came at the right time, after what has been a tough week for all of us. It was a brilliant performance for the lads to come back and play how we did, it was a perfect performance to beat such a good Notts side.

“ We will take the confidence from that into the Birmingham game although we are fully aware just how difficult it will be.

“Birmingham are at home and they are the reigning champions but we are looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m sure that if we play our best cricket it will be a really good game. They have got a good pedigree in the tournament, they have been playing some good stuff and they have strung some good wins together.

“They are probably one of the favourites to win it again this year but as we have said throughout the competition, everyone is beating each other.

“It is a very open competition and we still believe in ourselves completely that we can perform and win games.”