Durham and Derbyshire Falcons played out a thrilling tie in their Vitality Blast clash at Seat Unique Riverside as Haider Ali hit the final ball of the innings to the fence to earn his team a share of the spoils.
Zaman Khan and Zak Chappell each claimed four wickets, showing great pace and variation, while George Scrimshaw picked up his 50th T20 wicket for Derbyshire.
Brydon Carse returned from injury to top score for the home side with a career-best 58 as Durham posted 178 from their 20 overs, although they were to rue a batting collapse, losing their final five wickets for only 17 runs.
Derbyshire found their range in response as Luis Reece blasted 58 from 47 balls. But, the home side dragged it back to set up a tense finale as Wayne Parnell claimed three wickets. Haider Ali held his nerve from the final ball and rescued a tie for the Falcons finding the boundary on the leg-side to claim a valuable point.
The visitors won the toss and elected to field, but were put on the back foot by Michael Jones’ early attack. The Scotland international, replacing Graham Clark at opener due to illness, crashed five boundaries in the powerplay before he picked out Mattie McKiernan on the fence to hand Khan the breakthrough.
Alex Lees found his touch after a slow start but then suffered an unfortunate end when he was run out at the non-strikers’ end by McKiernan deflecting Carse’s drive back into the stumps. Carse responded to the misfortune by blasting two huge sixes straight down the ground to propel Durham’s scoring rate over nine runs per over.
The Falcons kept themselves in the contest as Ollie Robinson and Ashton Turner were dismissed cheaply, reducing the hosts to 100 for four with eight overs remaining. Carse notched his second T20 fifty clearing the rope with two further strikes down the ground before Khan returned to the attack and prised out the all-rounder for 58.
Carse’s dismissal sparked a collapse in the Durham ranks. The hosts fell from 161 for five to 178 all out in the final 15 balls of the innings. Chappell did the damage with four late wickets, while Khan added a fourth for himself to bottle up the Durham lower order.
Derbyshire issued a rapid response to their chase as Harry Came set the tone against Parnell, smashing his first over for three-straight boundaries. Came made his way to 34 from 17 before Parnell had his revenge to remove the Falcons’ opener in the final over of the powerplay.
But, Reece and Wayne Madsen kept the visitors well ahead of the run rate, finding the fence with ease against slack Durham bowling. Reece made a slow start to his knock but he accelerated through the gears to reach his 16th T20 fifty from 38 balls, including two towering sixes against Liam Trevaskis.
Coughlin drew a false shot from Madsen and Nathan Sowter added the wicket of Leus du Plooy to his collection this season to put the visitors back under pressure, elevating the required run rate beyond 12 per over. Haider Ali responded with back-to-back boundaries in the 17th over to open up a tense finale, requiring 31 from the final three overs.
Parnell and Trevaskis turned the screw for the hosts, combining twice to prise out Reece for 58 and Brook Guest, swinging the momentum back to Durham. Haider Ali and McKiernan drilled De Leede’s penultimate over for 14, aided by two wides from the Netherlands international, leaving the game in the balance heading into the final six balls.
Parnell cost a run with his first ball throwing it needlessly back at the stumps after holding McKiernan in check. But his following four balls were on the money to leave Derbyshire needing five from the final delivery. With the game on the line, Haider Ali found the gap in a leg-side boundary to snatch a tie for the Falcons on the road.
Derbyshire all-rounder, Luis Reece, said: “We would have taken 178 at the half-way stage, so it is disappointing to fall short. In the final over, we were thinking one clean hit and we’re there, but unfortunately, we didn’t get it. The lads are feeling a little bit disappointed, we thought we had it under control for the majority of our innings.
“I suppose being in, I should have been the one to see it home, but I didn’t get the elevation on the shot I needed to clear the rope. There are fine margins in this game, and today it has been the finest of margins that has cost us the win. I’m always wanting more and I’m still chasing that elusive big score.
“Hopefully, I feel there is a big one in me in the next couple of games to help us push on. Games come thick and fast, but we’re starting to run out of games so we need to get on a bit of a run to get us up the table.”
Vitality Blast 2023: Be Bold, Be Derbyshire
In 2023, every Derbyshire Falcons home T20 will be played on a Friday night, weekend or Bank Holiday, meaning it’s never been easier to follow the Falcons in the Vitality Blast.
2022 saw a Club-record number of T20 wins, coupled with the Best Domestic Spectator Experience to make the Falcons Vitality Blast campaign one of the best ever, and this year’s promises to be even bigger, with an enhanced food and drink range and added emphasis on accessibility.