Lamb guides Derbyshire to victory

Sunday 20th August 2023
Photography by: David Griffin, written by ECB Reporters Network

Matt Lamb hit a courageous, unbeaten 63 to help Derbyshire come from behind to seal a nail-biting four-wicket victory over Northamptonshire Steelbacks in this Metro Bank One Day Cup clash at Wantage Road.

Batting in pain with an injured back, Lamb soaked up the pressure as Derbyshire struggled to force the pace on an increasingly sluggish pitch before pressing the accelerator.

Just four boundaries came in the first 37 overs of the chase, but Lamb’s stand of 77 in 18.2 overs with Brooke Guest provided a vital foundation. For most of their time together, the pair looked comfortable, but were unable to locate the boundary ropes.

Lamb though began to move through the gears. The Falcons needed 59 off the last 10 overs and reduced the target further to 26 from the last 30 balls. Joined by a proactive Anuj Dal (20), Lamb took the visitors to within 21 of their target.

The momentum shifted back in Northamptonshire’s favour after Luke Procter conceded just one run off the 46th over and Dal was caught off Ben Sanderson with 20 balls remaining.

Alex Thomson though hit Tom Taylor down the ground for four, leaving Derbyshire needing 10 off the last two overs. Lamb and Thomson both struck a boundary off Sanderson to win the game with an over to spare.

Defeat ends Northamptonshire’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of this year’s tournament.

Earlier Sam Conners (3-32) accounted for Luke Procter (39) and Lewis McManus (21) in consecutive overs while Thomson (3-41) removed the key wicket of the dangerous Tom Taylor who has scored two centuries so far in this tournament. Northamptonshire had a lower order flurry of runs from James Sales and Jack White to thank for pushing them up to a competitive 201.

Derbyshire won the toss and took two early wickets when Emilio Gay inside edged a ball from Harry Moore onto his stumps and Ricardo Vasconcelos drove Conners to cover.

Sam Whiteman (14) unfurled a couple of graceful cover drives to take Northamptonshire past 50 before he was next to go when he cut Luis Reece straight to point.

Rob Keogh hit a pleasant 30, steering Moore through the legside and driving and cutting Mark Watt’s slow left arm deliveries before he was caught and bowled by off-spinner Thomson to leave Northamptonshire 79 for four after 20 overs.

McManus and Procter attempted to rebuild and while both deployed the sweep to locate the boundary, they were otherwise content to rotate the strike, putting on 48 in 12.3 overs. When McManus accelerated though, playing a lofted on-drive against Watt for four, he was caught behind when he chased a wide one from Conners.

Procter had dug in happy to play the anchor role and let others bat around him, hitting just one boundary in his 39 off 69 balls. His downfall came against Conners, when he played against type, attempting a wild drive towards the legside, only for the ball to dislodge the off-bail.

Thomson then removed Taylor and Simon Kerrigan cheaply in consecutive overs as both players were bowled attempting to reverse sweep.

White and Sales then combined in an enterprising ninth wicket stand of 43 in 8.2 overs. White (21) was positive front the start, striking Thomson through midwicket and sending a huge six in the same direction before he too was bowled playing the reverse sweep, this time against Watt. Sanderson was the last man to go, bowled by Reece, leaving Sales not out on 35, his highest score in List A cricket.

As the Falcons began their chase, Reece cut Sanderson away for a couple of boundaries and put on 33 with Harry Came in the first nine overs.

The momentum shifted suddenly as Derbyshire became becalmed, losing three wickets for 28 in the next 10 overs against some disciplined Steelbacks bowling, underlining how difficult it was to score.

First Came chipped a ball from Sanderson to mid-off where Keogh took a good catch. Tom Wood supported Reece for a while but was next to go when he drove Taylor straight to cover. Haider Ali then came down the pitch to Keogh and drilled the ball straight to mid-off to leave Derbyshire 61 for three after 18 overs.

Reece who had pulled Sanderson authoritatively for four, also found it difficult to force the pace and eventually fell lbw to Keogh for 34.

That brought Guest and Lamb together in a vital stand. Eventually, with no boundary since the 21st over, Guest found the ropes in the 38th when he hit Keogh over extra cover.

With 59 needed off the last 10 overs, Lamb drove Taylor powerfully down the pitch for four, but lost his partner when White knocked over Guest’s leg bail as he attempted a big swing to leg.

Anuj Dal smashed four boundaries and kept Derbyshire up with the run rate, before he fell to a stunning diving catch by Vasconcelos off Sanderson, leaving Lamb and Thomson to see Derbyshire home.

Derbyshire batter Matt Lamb said: “It was tough out there. I think our lads bowled phenomenally well. The two lads in particular, at the top. I know Sammy [Conners] has played a lot of first-class cricket, but he’s not played much white ball cricket and I thought he bowled beautifully and set the tone at the top of the bowling innings with young Harry Moore.

“So, a brilliant performance with the ball and it was nice to get a few runs and get the win.

“I feel like there wasn’t one player who played fluently throughout the day. Tough wicket, definitely. It was very slow, especially against spin and they’ve got a slower attack than our lads. So, there was no pace to work with, it was very tough.

“I thought if I stay in, we’ll probably win the game. I think Anuj Dal’s 20 probably changed the momentum of the game. It [that kind of innings] doesn’t always get the headlines, but I really think that did change the momentum. Him and Thommo [Alex Thomson] deserve a lot of credit.”

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