Brooke Guest struck 54, but Derbyshire were edged out by Birmingham Bears in a dramatic opening Vitality Blast encounter of the season.
The Bears looked on course for a convincing win when Adam Hose scored 55 from 31 balls and Chris Benjamin an unbeaten 43 from 18 including five sixes as the fifth wicket pair plundered 98 from 42 balls.
The Bears smashed 89 off the last five overs to reach 200 for the second night running but the Falcons fought back and came close to pulling off what would have been their biggest T20 run chase.
Guest’s 54 from 34 balls almost swung the game in a dramatic finale but Craig Miles kept his nerve as the Falcons finished on 197 for 8.
The Bears demolished Northamptonshire the previous night so it looked ominous for the Falcons when Paul Stirling took five boundaries from the first two overs.
The Irishman pulled Sam Conners deep into the crowd in the fourth but when he tried to repeat the shot off the next ball, he holed out to deep midwicket.
Alex Davies ramped George Scrimshaw for 6 to take the Bears to 54 for 1 at the end of the powerplay but Jacob Bethell’s attempt to drive the fast bowler over the top landed in the hands of mid off.
Scrimshaw used the short ball well to stem the run flow and when Sam Hain was stumped stepping out to drive Mark Watt and Davies was caught behind cutting at Mattie McKiernan, the Bears had slipped to 89 for 4.
After McKiernan finished his spell, the Falcons looked like restricting the Bears to around 160 but Hose and Benjamin cut loose in the last five overs.
Watt went for 24 in the 16th and after Hose drove Kerr for six to reach 50 off 28 balls, Benjamin smashed him for two more maximums with another 24 coming from the 19th.
Hose pulled Conners to deep midwicket but that ushered in Carlos Brathwaite for a brutal cameo that included a pull drive which soared over long on and out of the ground.
It left Derbyshire needing to pull off an unlikely chase and their chances were dented when Shan Masood drove Danny Briggs to mid off in the third over.
Leus du Plooy and Wayne Madsen gave the Falcons hope but when they fell in consecutive overs, the game looked up.
The Falcons required an improbable 112 off 10 overs. but McKiernan and Guest raised the hopes of the home supporters by adding 48 from 26 balls with Brathwaite conceding 21 off the 16th over.
Henry Brookes added to the drama when he was taken off for two head high full tosses in the 18th over but Brathwaite responded with a superb over to leave the Falcons needing 18 off six balls.
Guest cut Miles to the point boundary and then drove him for six before a no ball shifted the odds again but after he picked out Bethell at deep midwicket, Miles recovered impressively to see the Bears over the line.
Vitality Blast 2022 – Tickets on sale now!
Tickets for all of Derbyshire’s Vitality Blast fixtures are on sale now.
After a dramatic episode in 2021, the East Midlands Derby against Notts Outlaws returns on Friday 3 June, while the Falcons will be aiming to extend their Vitality Blast winning streak at Queen’s Park to four matches, when they take on Yorkshire Vikings to close out the BRM Solicitors Festival of Cricket, in association with Chesterfield Borough Council, on Saturday 18 June.