Another majestic innings from Shan Masood took Derbyshire to an impressive six wicket win over Middlesex on day three of the LV=Insurance County Championship match at Chesterfield.
The Pakistan left-hander scored 98 from 113 balls as Derbyshire chased down 219 to inflict a first defeat of the season on the Division Two leaders.
Middlesex lost their last seven wickets for 101 runs to slip to 196 all out with Luis Reece taking 3 for 26 and Anuj Dal 3 for 50 including Mark Stoneman who top scored with 67.
Masood was dropped twice before he fell nine short of 1,000 first-class runs for the season but an unbeaten 49 from Wayne Madsen steered Derbyshire to 222 for 4 and a 20 point win.
Middlesex’s hopes of setting a tougher target was squandered before lunch by poor shot selection and a needless run out.
Only Stoneman was the victim of a good delivery from Dal which lifted to take the opener’s outside edge but there was little mitigation for what followed.
Although nightwatchman Ethan Bamber and Max Holden both swept left arm spinner Mark Watt for six, both had gone by the interval.
Bamber batted selectively until he chased a wide ball from Dal and was caught at point and Middlesex suffered a self-inflicted blow six overs later.
John Simpson was left stranded after Holden clipped to midwicket and set off for a run with both batters at the same end when Masood’s throw arrived in Brook Guest’s gloves.
Holden was probably keen to avoid returning to the pavilion for a while but after driving Alex Thomson over long on to take the lead past 200, he tried to repeat the shot in the penultimate over before lunch and Billy Godleman held a swirling catch at cover.
Middlesex failed to stick or twist after lunch, losing their last three wickets for seven runs in six overs to disciplined bowling.
Luke Hollman chipped Reece to midwicket and after Thilan Walwallawita missed a pull at Watt, Tim Murtagh was caught behind to leave Derbyshire with the best part of five sessions to get the runs.
It was not a straight-forward chase on a pitch offering variable bounce and it did not begin well with Godleman run out in the fourth over by Holden’s throw from cover after Masood sent him back.
But Masood was always going to be the key so when he was dropped on 18 low at first slip by Stephen Eskinazi off Toby Roland-Jones in the next over it felt like a pivotal moment.
Middlesex must have sensed that when Masood effortlessly on drove Bamber for one of the eight fours that took him to yet another 50.
Roland-Jones found some extra bounce to have Guest caught behind but crucially Masood was on 55 at tea with Derbyshire needing another 130 to win.
Middlesex had to strike early to have a chance but they dropped Masood again when Sam Robson failed to cling on to a fierce cut at gully of Roland-Jones with the opener on 76.
Two more imperious boundaries took him into the nineties and a drive down the ground to the brink of a century before he cut Bamber low to gully where Robson this time made no mistake.
Derbyshire had lost their last seven wickets for 21 on the second day but Madsen and a late flourish from Reece made sure there was no way back for Middlesex whose own second innings collapse proved costly.
Head of Cricket, Mickey Arthur, said: “It’s very rewarding and the guys deserved it. They put in a huge amount of effort, we knew it was going to be a tight game and everything was condensed into three days.
“I thought yesterday we had a bit of a wobble but today the boys responded and they are learning how to win and that for me is the key. It’s a tough thing to know how to win and I’m immensely proud of that dressing room at the moment.
“You had to have an intent to score otherwise there was a ball that could possibly get you out and that’s what made it a really good cricket wicket. We were really well led up front by Shan (Masood), he sets that tone for us and puts the opposition on the back foot and his innings was very special.
“I’m really proud of the run chase, I thought we bowled exceptionally well this morning and I’m really proud of our performance over the three days.”
Vitality Blast 2022 – Tickets on sale now!
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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.