Falcons down holders to begin T20 Blast campaign

Saturday 21st May 2016
Written by Danny Painter

Derbyshire Falcons began their 2016 NatWest T20 Blast campaign with a comprehensively nine-wicket win over holders Lancashire Lightning, with Hamish Rutherford scoring a stunning unbeaten 71.

Rutherford’s dominant 40-ball innings included three sixes and six fours as he picked up where Wes Durston (30 off 15 balls) had left off as the Falcons chased down their 132 victory target with 33 balls to spare.

The low target had been set after a fine all-round performance in the field. Making his Derbyshire bow, Jimmy Neesham took 2-38 and also secured a run out as the hosts were restricted to 131-7 from their 19 overs.

The start was delayed due to rain, before the game was able to get under way at 3.45pm with each innings reduced to 19 overs. Having chosen to field first, the Falcons got the early wicket when debutant Neesham had Tom Smith (9) caught by Chesney Hughes.

The visitors bowled tightly during the power play, restricting their hosts to 39-2 after the first six overs with Shiv Thakor (1-18) picking up the wicket of Karl Brown (12) in the sixth over.

The middle overs were dominated by the economical pair of Alex Hughes (1-23) and Matt Critchley (0-19). The former picked up Derbyshire’s third wicket when he bowled the experienced Alviro Petersen for 19. Steven Croft and Liam Livingstone aded 46 for the fourth wicket at less than a-run-a-ball before Neesham got his second wicket of the afternoon, trapping Croft lbw for 31 from 34 balls.

Livingstone and Alex Davies added some important late runs for the hosts, scoring 25 and 15 respectively, but Livingstone was run out by Neesham from the boundary and Davies was bowled by Andy Carter (1-33) off the last ball of the innings as Lancashire finished on 131-7.

Durston got the chase off to an absolute flyer, hitting 24 from the first two overs, before falling for 30 from only 15 balls in the third over, having struck five fours and a six.

The loss of his opening partner did not faze Rutherford as he continued the assault on the Lancashire attack to help his side to 64-1 after the six-over power play and into a commanding position.

Neil Broom, meanwhile, was holding his end well, whilst Rutherford inflicted yet more damage on the hosts to move to a brilliant half-century from 24 balls in the ninth over.

Derbyshire reached their hundred during the tenth over, and, with just another 32 runs needed from nine overs, the game was as good as won for the Falcons.

They reached their victory target in the 14th over, as they scored 132-1 from 13.4 overs with Broom finishing not out on 25 and Rutherford unbeaten on a brutal 71 from 40 deliveries.

Click HERE to view scorecard.

Derbyshire Falcons host their opening home NatWest T20 Blast fixture vs Leicestershire Foxes on Friday 3 June. Buy your tickets in advance to secure your seat and save 20%.

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