Falcons lose but quarter-final hopes remain
A four-wicket defeat to Leicestershire Foxes meant Derbyshire Falcons were unable to seal a NatWest T20 Blast quarter-final spot at the first time of asking, with one crucial match still to play.
After losing the toss and being put into bat first, Derbyshire Falcons struggled to get going and lost wickets at regular intervals as they posted 139-7 from their 20 overs. Defending a low total, the Daryn Smit’s men managed to take six wickets, but 57 not out from Mark Cosgrove and 32 from Luke Ronchi steered the hosts to victory.
Opening the Falcons’ innings, Billy Godleman (6) was the first wicket to fall, his leg stump removed by Gavin Griffiths in an over which went for just one run. Luis Reece (6) came and went, striking a four before being caught and bowled by Aadil Ali the following ball.
This was symptomatic of a Falcons innings which stuttered from the off, with wickets falling never more than five overs apart. Wayne Madsen (10) and Alex Hughes (11) got set but both were caught with the score soon moving onto 73-4 just after the halfway mark.
Callum Brodrick, playing in his fourth NatWest T20 Blast match, swept and pulled Callum Parkinson for two fours but once he and Smit (2) were both lbw to Clint McKay, Derbyshire hopes of passing 150 were extinguished.
Matt Critchley, who had opened with Godleman, continued to bat nicely as wickets fell around him, reaching his half-century from 50 balls, with three fours and two sixes. He struck three fours in the last three overs as the visitors posted 139-7; Critchley, unbeaten on a career-best 72, giving the Falcons hope.
Despite losing Cameron Delport (4) in the second over, the hosts continued to power on and Ronchi quickly got them well ahead of the rate, smashing 32 from 15 balls before being caught in the fifth over with the score 58-2.
Colin Ackermann was run out by Tahir in the sixth over and although Derbyshire had claimed three early wickets, quick scoring from Leicestershire saw them end the powerplay in control on 66-3.
Tahir put the squeeze on the hosts in the second half of their innings, finishing with figures of 1-13 from his four overs, including the wicket of Ali, lbw for seven and the Falcons did continue to take wickets.
Lewis Hill (11) and Tom Wells (13) were both out to Critchley, but regular fours and a steadying influence from Cosgrove was enough to see the Foxes home with nine balls to spare.
The Falcons face Worcestershire Rapids in their last NatWest T20 Blast North Group match at The 3aaa County Ground on Friday, in a final chance to book a quarter-final spot.
NatWest T20 Blast is back this July and August. Save £4 by purchasing your matchday tickets in advance. While further discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. Buy online today to secure your place and save.