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RESULT
19th Match, Derby, May 12 - 15, 2022, County Championship Division Two
368 & 225/2d

Match drawn

Report

Jake Libby returns to form as Worcestershire ease to safety

No final-day jeopardy as Derbyshire are unable to make their scoreboard pressure tell

Jake Libby brings up his century for Worcestershire at Chelmsford, Essex v Worcestershire, Chelmsford, 3rd day, April 10, 2021

Jake Libby was back in the runs for Worcestershire  •  Andrew Miller

Worcestershire 368 and 225 for 2 (Libby 105*, Ali 60) drew with Derbyshire 565 for 8 dec (Dal 114*, Masood 113, Guest 77, du Plooy 62, Thomson 54)
Worcestershire opener Jake Libby returned to form with his first century of the season to deny Derbyshire victory on the final day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match at Derby.
Libby had made only one 50 in his previous eight innings but came good at the right time with an unbeaten 105 off 306 balls to steer Worcestershire to a draw.
Azhar Ali scored 60 and shared a second-wicket stand with Libby of 164 in 48 overs before Jack Haynes, who scored 16 from 140 balls, joined Libby to complete a determined rearguard action.
The pair dropped anchor, scoring only 26 runs from 283 balls to end Derbyshire's rapidly fading hopes as the visitors closed on 225 for 2, a lead of 28.
Worcestershire went into the final day 138 runs behind but the pitch was flat and Derbyshire were a bowler down with Ryan Sidebottom ruled out by a calf injury.
Derbyshire had to strike early to apply pressure but there were few alarms as Libby and Azhar batted through the morning to reduce the deficit to 35.
Libby edged Suranga Lakmal just short of first slip in the fourth over and Azhar missed a loose cut at Luis Reece who was bowling for the first time since August following surgery on his left shoulder and right knee.
Reece bowled five overs from the Racecourse End and did get some swing while Sam Conners tried to unsettle the batters with some short balls but it was a fruitless first session for Derbyshire.
Libby drove Reece for his seventh four to reach 50 from 98 balls and Azhar completed his third consecutive half-century after lunch when he cut Lakmal to the ropes.
Derbyshire's hopes were raised briefly when Azhar went back to work Thomson to leg but was beaten by some turn and given lbw after resisting for 204 minutes.
His obvious disappointment at missing out on the chance of a century was clear but Libby, who was the second-leading run-scorer in the country last season, completed a stubborn hundred from 185 balls.
He did not score another run from the next 39 balls which underlined his determination not to give Derbyshire a chance of forcing the door back open.
Derbyshire used spin at both ends to try and get to a second new ball as quickly as possible but when it became available, the light had deteriorated to prevent them taking it.
The runs dried up with Libby and Jack Haynes scoring 21 from 199 balls so Worcestershire at tea were just 23 runs ahead but only a maximum of 25 overs remained.
After the interval the game meandered to its inevitable conclusion before the teams shook hands at 4.50pm with both teams taking 14 points.