Falcons lose to Rapids by six wickets
Martin Guptill hit a run-a-ball 65 to guide Worcestershire Rapids to a six-wicket win in the Vitality Blast at The 3aaa County Ground.
Former Derbyshire batsman Guptill paced his innings well, while Ravi Rampaul and Lockie Ferguson both took two wickets for the Falcons.
Derbyshire debutant Anuj Dal also impressed to make a quick-fire 35 off 26 balls, but the Falcons slipped to defeat in the 19th over of the visitors’ chase.
The visitors got off to a strong start in the powerplay, as Luke Wood and Dillon Pennington both took wickets to restrict Derbyshire to 30-3.
Critchley was out for four, before Pennington took two wickets in an over to remove Calum MacLeod (7) and Wayne Madsen (0) to put the Rapids in a strong position after six overs.
Captain Gary Wilson joined Ben Slater at the crease, as the pair set about rebuilding the Derbyshire innings to take the score onto 55-3 at the halfway stage.
However, the Falcons continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as both Slater (33) and Alex Hughes (8) were stumped by Ben Cox and Derbyshire slipped to 67-5 in the twelfth over.
Dal was next in and he was fluent in scoring around the ground, accelerating the innings by hitting boundaries in both the 15th and 17th overs to take his score to 35 before he was run out.
Patrick Brown came back into the attack to strike for the visitors, dismissing Wilson (28) and Wahab Riaz (7) as the Falcons set Worcestershire 135 to win on a testing pitch.
Derbyshire bowlers got off to a quick start in the Rapids’ reply to reduce Worcestershire to 29-2 after four overs.
Fast bowlers Ravi Rampaul and Lockie Ferguson struck to remove Joe Clarke (13) and Callum Ferguson (10) as the Falcons started well in their defence.
Guptill was watchful as the bowling attack continued to probe in search of vital wickets. However, Guptill came together with Daryl Mitchell as the pair put on a stand worth 70 to set a platform for the visitors.
The 31-year-old maintained poise throughout his innings, reaching his half-century from 52 balls, which included three sixes to accelerate the Rapids to 99-2 after 14 overs.
Rampaul returned to get the breakthrough and remove Mitchell (18) before Ferguson claimed his second wicket to remove fellow countryman Guptill for a well-made 65 as Worcestershire closed in on victory.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Cox and Ross Whiteley then combined to hit the winning runs in the penultimate over for the visitors to claim their third consecutive win by six wickets.
Vitality Blast is back! Derbyshire Falcons host seven Twenty20 games this July and August. Purchase your tickets in advance and save from £4. Buy online or call 01332 388 101.