An explosive maiden T20 century by Tom Wood fired Derbyshire Falcons to a 71 run win over Leicestershire Foxes at Derby and kept alive their Vitality Blast hopes.
Wood smashed an unbeaten 110 which included 12 fours and four sixes off 57 balls as the Falcons posted 231 for 4, their highest total in T20 cricket.
Harry Came with 56 off 36 balls shared an opening stand with Wood of 148 from 81 balls, another Derbyshire record in the competition, before late cameos from Leus du Plooy and Haider Ali piled on the misery for the Foxes.
Peter Handscomb replied with 61 from 43 balls but the Foxes came up well short on 160 for 9 with Zaman Khan taking 3 for 27 to leave the Falcons needing to beat Worcestershire in the last game on Sunday to have a chance of making the quarter-finals.
The Falcons began sedately,failing to find the ropes in the first three overs, but Woods served up a taste of what was to come by hitting Ed Barnes for two boundaries in the fourth before launching into Michael Finan.
He pulled the pace bowler for the first six of the innings and swatted three more fours to take 19 from the over and lift the Falcons to 55 at the end of the powerplay.
When Barnes, who injured his right hand stopping a drive from Wood, returned at the Racecourse end, Came ramped him over third man for six before a misfield gave Woods his seventh four and his 50 which came off 28 balls.
The Foxes were struggling to stem the run flow and Woods hoisted Colin Ackermann high over long off for his second six to take the Falcons to 100 without loss at the halfway stage.
Louis Kimber’s first ball in T20 cricket was dispatched over long off for six by Wood who pulled the last ball of the over for another maximum.
Came pulled Tom Scriven for six on his way to 50 from 34 balls and drove the seamer over the ropes as 20 came from the over.
Wood was given a life on 86 when Kimber dropped him at long on but the stand ended in the 14th over when Came drilled Ackermann to long off.
But there was no respite for the Foxes as Wood smashed Barnes over mid off for his 11th four to reach his century off only 51 balls.
Callum Parkinson had Wayne Madsen caught behind off a top edge but that only brought in du Plooy who smashed Finan for consecutive sixes as the Falcons sailed past 200.
After du Plooy was caught behind off Tom Scriven, Ali hammered two sixes to take the Falcons past their previous highest T20 score of 222 and leave the Foxes facing a daunting chase.
They set off well with 61 coming from the powerplay before Wiaan Mulder was bowled for 35 aiming a big drive at Mattie McKiernan.
Rishi Patel pulled Wood over long on for six and dispatched McKiernan onto the top tier of the media centre to keep the Foxes in the hunt but they still needed 131 from the last 10 overs.
Patel went in the 11th when he skied a big drive at George Scrimshaw and the soaring asking rate claimed Ackermann when he swept Alex Thomson to deep square in the next over.
Nick Welch hoisted McKiernan over long off for six before he was cleaned up by Khan and Kimber’s attempt to hit Scrimshaw out of the ground only ended in the hands of Ali running back from mid on.
Khan claimed the big wicket of Handscomb and yorked Scriven before Zak Chappell removed Finan to seal victory with Barnes unable to bat.
Vitality Blast 2023: Be Bold, Be Derbyshire
There’s all to play for this Sunday, as Derbyshire Falcons face Worcestershire Rapids, with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.
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