Derbyshire suffered an agonising four-run defeat to Lancashire Lightning, a second-successive Vitality Blast loss of the Bank Holiday weekend.
The tense encounter came down to a thrilling final over as cameos from four Derbyshire batsmen kept them in touch of Lancashire’s 178-5 throughout the run-chase, ultimately falling five runs shy of their target.
Yorkshire loanee, Ed Barnes, took two debut wickets, while Wayne Madsen top-scored with 44, although the experienced batsman seemingly picked-up a leg injury in the process.
In a repeat of Sunday, Billy Godleman lost the toss and Derbyshire were sent out to field first, leg spinner Mattie McKiernan conceding just one run in the first over.
However, the in-form openers, Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies, who put on 170 in the Lightning’s first group game, soon set about compiling another commanding opening partnership.
This time it was 63 as the pair targeted Sam Conners and Barnes before Matt Critchley had Jennings (29) caught by Anuj Dal as he mistimed a flick into the leg side.
Undeterred, Davies took on the mantle as aggressor and reached his half-century in 31 balls, ably supported by Steven Croft, who struck three sixes.
Critchley and Godleman combined to run the 35-year-old out for 38 and Conners recovered well to dismiss Davies, caught at deep mid-wicket by Leus du Plooy for 82.
Barnes’ first wickets in Vitality Blast cricket came as the Falcons fought back in the latter overs, restricting the Lightning to 178-5, a score which seemed to be par on a relatively flat track.
As well as three personnel changes, Derbyshire pushed McKiernan (4) up the order to open the batting, an experiment which didn’t come off as Croft struck in the first over, with Godleman out for seven soon after.
Two useful partnerships followed as Reece (39) reverse-swept Tom Bailey and Madsen attacked the spinners, Derbyshire climbing above 100 in the 12th over.
Once Madsen settled to the conditions, he notably accelerated after the halfway stage, slog-sweeping Callum Parkinson for six and playing a ramp shot off Liam Hurt almost one-handed in front of his helmet.
In doing so he overstretched leaning backwards and required a runner, his fluency interrupted as a result, despite du Plooy hitting boundaries at the other end.
The left-hander took on one too many flighted deliveries from Parkinson and was caught at long-off for 29 and when Madsen was out in a similar fashion off Hartley in the next over, Derbyshire’s hopes took a dent.
Critchley hit two sixes in his 32 and memories of Queen’s Park were stirred as the Falcons required 19 to win off the final over and the all-rounder hit the first delivery for six.
However, he couldn’t repeat the feat and Bailey closed out the innings to inflict a narrow four-run defeat on Derbyshire, leaving the Falcons on one point from three matches in the North Group.
Vitality Blast is back! Derbyshire Falcons return to Twenty20. Follow every game live on our match centre at derbyshireccc.com. Derbyshire Falcons: Underestimated No More.