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Patel inspires Falcons win at Blast Off

Saturday 1st June 2024
& News
Photography by: David Griffin, written by ECB Reporters Network

Derbyshire Falcons opened their Vitality Blast account for the season with a tense four-wicket victory over Leicestershire Foxes at Edgbaston.

The Foxes chose to bat but stuttered to 97 for six as Zak Chappell, Pat Brown and Samit Patel took two wickets apiece before an unbroken stand of 79 in 45 balls by Peter Handscomb (75, 51 balls) and Rehan Ahmed (36, 22) lifted them to 176 for six.

The Falcons replied with 178 for six in 19.1 overs thanks principally to a high-class partnership of 102 in 58 balls from 40-year-old Wayne Madsen and 39-year-old Patel. Patel smashed 64 (32) in a scintillating knock while Madsen made a composed 43 (35).

Their quality left the Falcons needing 18 from the last 12 balls and Brooke Guest lifted the first and sixth of those balls over the rope to bring the Foxes down to earth after their opening-game victory over Yorkshire Vikings last night.

The Foxes’ innings received an early jolt when Sol Budinger received a reminder of what a great leveller cricket can be. The opener slapped Chappell to backward point to follow yesterday’s dazzling half-century with a golden duck.

Rishi Patel feathered Brown to wicketkeeper Brooke Guest and Louis Kimber’s vigorous start (21, 13 balls) ended when he skied Chappell to mid-off where Madsen judged a difficult catch perfectly.

Handscomb continued to watch partners come and go. Wiaan Mulder lifted Brown to deep cover and Ben Cox and Ben Mike holed out to Patel to give the spinner his 343rd and 344th T20 wickets.

That left the Foxes on an uneasy 97 for six in the 13th over but Handscomb played a true captain’s innings. He worked the ball around adroitly in an accomplished half-century (surprisingly only his eighth time past 50 in 124 T20s) and Ahmed offered valuable support, hitting three sixes, to lift the total to somewhere around par.

The Falcons paid a high price for over-aggression in the opening overs. Luis Reece charged and missed at Kimber. David Lloyd, having hit his first ball for six, was bowled by his sixth, a gorgeous, swinging yorker from Mike. Harry Came, having socked Ian Holland over mid off for four, needlessly tried the same next ball and was caught at mid off.

At 31 for three, the Falcons’ foundations were rocky but Madsen and Patel counter-attacked with selectivity and skill. Former England all-rounder Patel showed his immense powers have not dimmed in a glorious knock which included four fours and five sixes before he was caught by Mike right on the square leg rope off Ahmed.

Madsen then lifted Mike to mid off at which point the Falcons needed 28 from 21 balls. Ross Whitely skied Currie to long on but Guest smote Mike for mighty sixes over long off and straight in the penultimate over to leave just two required from the last.

Falcons batter Samit Patel said: “We were quite happy at halfway but it was a little bit frustrating that we gave them maybe 15 or 20 too many. In the position we were, if they had come off with 160 I’d have been more than happy, but they had a couple of strong overs and that happens in T20.

“It is always great to bat with Mads because he relieves a lot of pressure. The scoreboard just doesn’t stop moving when Mads is in which is great.

“I’m really excited about the way we are approaching our T20 cricket this season. It’s really positive and I think that comes across in the way we play our cricket. It’s different to past years. Our attitude and the way we go about our practice is fantastic. The boys are desperate to score runs and take wickets and observe all the process you need to make that happen.”

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