Captain Shan Masood led from the front, scoring 53, before a brilliant Derbyshire bowling performance earned the Falcons an emphatic 70-run win over Leicestershire Foxed in the Vitality Blast.
Pakistan opener, Masood, shared what proved to be the key partnership of the innings with Leus du Plooy, who hit an unbeaten 38 as the Falcons posted 159 from their 20 overs after being asked to bat first on the pitch on which Durham made a winning score of 184 for eight on Thursday.
Leicestershire fancied they could go close but on what proved to be a difficult surface to score fluently they stumbled to 47 for four in the powerplay and never recovered as the Falcons bowlers kept the pressure on throughout, dismissed for 89 to go down by a 70-run margin.
Leg spinner Mattie McKiernan’s two for 17 was the pick of some miserly Falcons bowling figures.
The Foxes lost Scott Steel, recalled in place of Louis Kimber, when he was bowled by a full delivery from Hayden Kerr, the Australian left-armer who has replaced the injured Suranga Lakmal, and Hamish Rutherford, out first ball on his debut on Thursday, perished in the second over, leg before to Wayne Madsen.
Madsen produced a wonderful piece of fielding to run out Arron Lilley with a direct hit running in from point before Colin Ackermann sliced to backward point.
Lewis Hill was run out by wicketkeeper Brooke Guest before Rishi Patel was leg before to McKiernan. The Foxes tried to hit their way out of trouble but Rehan Ahmed succeeded only in picking out mid-off. Callum Parkinson became a second victim for McKiernan before Mark Watt, the left-arm spinner, picked up a deserved scalp, turning one past Roman Walker’s bat. Kerr picked up his second wicket to finish the job as Naveen-ul-Haq skied to mid-off.
Having gone close to chasing down 200 against Birmingham Bears on Friday, the Falcons had begun confidently. They lost Luis Reece, bowled behind his legs by Roman Walker, and Harry Came, caught at backward point off the last ball of the opening six overs, but had 52 runs from the powerplay.
Falcons slipped to 77 for four after Wayne Madsen was bowled swinging fulsomely at Ben Mike and Brooke Guest, after his half-century the night before, saw his off stump knocked back as he made room to cut Callum Parkinson.
But Masood, prolific in the Championship, completed his first Blast half-century soon after ending a seven-over boundary drought with a couple off Naveen-ul-Haq, and Du Plooy, having driven Parkinson down the ground for four, cleverly ramped Scott Steel off the back of his bat.
The pair had added 51 in 26 balls when Masood sliced the same bowler straight to short third man.
Du Plooy and Hayden Kerr managed to eke out another 31 in the last four overs, Kerr driving Ronan Walker to the straight boundary and Du Plooy picking up a fourth boundary with another innovative shot over the ‘keeper’s head.
The Foxes looked happy to have kept the Falcons below 160 but in the event they had more than enough.
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.