Vitality Blast: Tale of the group stage

Tuesday 27th August 2019
& News
Written by Stephen Martin

After the Falcons confirmed their place in the last eight of the Vitality Blast, we take a look at their journey through the North Group. 

A trio of victories over the Bank Holiday weekend leaves Derbyshire on 16 points at the end of their group campaign, with seven wins, five defeats and two abandonments from the 14 matches.

Derbyshire began their Twenty20 campaign at the picturesque Queen’s Park, where they faced rivals Yorkshire in front of a third-successive sold out crowd in Chesterfield.

A strong bowling performance restricted the visitors to 164-8, before Billy Godleman replicated his 2018 performance against the Vikings by scoring a crucial half-century in a five-wicket victory.

That unbeaten innings of 70 was the first in a long line of half-centuries for Derbyshire’s batsmen in the North Group, with Godleman scoring a further three, Wayne Madsen also passing 50 four times, while Luis Reece and Leus du Plooy managed three each across the 14 matches.

However, after the opening win against Yorkshire, Derbyshire suffered defeats to Birmingham Bears and Notts Outlaws, with the East Midlands Derby played in front of a sold out Pattonair County Ground.

A loss to reigning champions Worcestershire Rapids meant that the Falcons had only won once in their first five games, heading into a match against Northants Steelbacks, live on Sky.

Madsen and Reece both scored half-centuries as Derbyshire secured an emphatic win over the Steelbacks at Wantage Road in front of the cameras.

A narrow loss to Durham followed, before Dominic Cork’s side secured back-to-back wins over Yorkshire Vikings and Worcestershire Rapids to move into the top four of a tight North Group.

However, as the Sky cameras rolled into town, the Falcons were unable to continue their good form as they fell to a heavy defeat to Leicestershire Foxes in Derby.

The loss damaged their chances of progressing, but with an abandonment at Trent Bridge in between, the Falcons then embarked on a brilliant run of form which saw them win games against Northants Steelbacks and Leicestershire Foxes to all but secure qualification.

Heading into their final group game against a Lancashire side who were unbeaten at home in the competition, Derbyshire knew a victory would confirm a knockout spot.

Madsen (69) and Godleman (57) put on their third partnership of 50 or more in the space of four days to help the Falcons to a total of 162-3, before wickets 19, 20 and 21 of the competition for Ravi Rampaul, the most T20 wickets in a single season for a Derbyshire player, guided them to an 11-run victory.

The Falcons have now secured a quarter-final spot and a knockout fixture against one of the top-four teams from the South Group.

The Aussies are coming! Derbyshire face Australia in the three-day Aston Lark Tourist Fixture from Thur 29 – Sat 31 August. Buy in advance to save and see world-class Test cricketers in Derby.

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