Lightning spin to five-wicket victory over the Falcons
A composed 43 run partnership in 5 overs between Jos Buttler and Ryan McLaren and a memorable three-wicket one-day debut by Matt Parkinson helped Lancashire ease to a comfortable five-wicket NatWest T20 Blast victory over Derbyshire Falcons with nine balls to spare.
This was the visitors’ first defeat in this competition while Lancashire move up to second place in the North Group table behind Leicestershire Foxes.
“It was a solid win, and a good bowling performance,” said Jos Buttler.
“Matt Parkinson bowled really well on his debut and showed the value of leg spinners in T20. They are wicket-takers.
“He showed great skill and I’m delighted for him.
“We got off to a great start, so were never under pressure from the run rate. We just needed a couple of good partnerships to get us over the line.”
On a day where a record 16 bowlers were used by the two teams, creating a new record in English T20 matches and 22 overs of spin were bowled, Lancashire utilised their spin attack on a slowish track with 9 of the first 11 overs bowled by spinners after Derbyshire won the toss and batted.
After Liam Livingstone struck early with the wicket of Billy Godleman with just 6 runs on the board, stumped for 2 by Buttler, the visitors rallied with former Lancashire opener Luis Reece and Matt Critchley adding 60 for the second wicket in 7 overs.
The introduction of Parkinson into the attack brought results, the leg spinner ending Critchley’s time at the crease when the Derbyshire batsman was caught by Steven Croft at deep mid-wicket for 40, with the score 66-2 at the end of the 9th over.
Reece and Wayne Madsen added 45 runs in 5 overs, but the departure of Reece at the start of the 15th over, caught by Livingstone at long off for 37 started a collapse from 111-2 as six wickets fell for 40 runs in 34 balls.
Parkinson, who finished with 3-17 from his 4 overs, bowled Matt Henry for 7 to pick up his third wicket while Junaid Khan bowled with some real pace towards the end of the innings in taking 3-28.
It was left to Wayne Madsen to shepherd the Falcons’ innings along with an inventive innings of 52 before he fell to Junaid in the last over as Derbyshire totalled 152-8.
“I couldn’t have expected it to go much better really,” said Parkinson, who admitted to some pre-match nerves.
“It helped to get a wicket in the first over,” he admitted. “It settled me down. I was really nervous before the start of the game.
“There’s pressure on you if the wicket is going to turn and you’re looked at to take wickets. I just thought my inclusion meant it would be a wicket that suited me, so it helped me relax a bit, knowing there would be some assistance.
“You don’t see that much spin bowled in a T20 that often, but you still had to bowl well. It wasn’t a wicket where you could just bowl spin and get away with it. I though all five of us (spinners) bowled nicely and it was a very deserved win.”
Karl Brown continued his good form, striking two early boundaries as Lancashire made a strong start to their reply with Livingstone also going well in making 23 of the opening partnership of 48 inside 5 overs.
The England T20 batsman struck Imran Tahir for a straight for 6 but then departed next ball, caught at long-on, as the Lightning quickly lost 3 wickets for 8 runs in 10 balls.
Arron Lilley fell to a great catch by Critchley at backward point off Reece and Brown followed for 30 after hitting Hughes high to Madsen on the long-on boundary.
When Croft was lbw to Tahir for 4 to leave Lancashire on 72-4 in the 9th over, the game was in the balance, but Buttler and Dane Vilas steadied matters in adding 40 in 5 overs before the latter departed for 20, caught hooking Hardus Viljoen to fine leg with 41 required from 39 balls.
A measured partnership between Buttler and McLaren took Lancashire steadily along to their target. Buttler eschewed his more regular inventive approach to T20 batting in making an unbeaten 42 off 37 balls and McLaren provided great support with 24 not out.
The pair did not hit a boundary during the first four overs of their partnership but still reached their target with nine balls to spare after McLaren struck two fours off Viljoen in the 19th over to seal a convincing victory.
“It’s all about winning, however you do that,” agreed Buttler.
“I try and pride myself that in run chases I will be there at the end and try and play the situation.
“I got a good partnership with Dane and then one with Macca.
“You have to just play the situation and be adaptable.
“Try to be consistent and get momentum. It’s great that T20 is in a block this year because you can prepare and practise really well.
Buttler is also enjoying being back in the Lancashire dressing room.
“I love being back here,” he added.
“It’s a great place to play cricket and I’m with a group of guys who are really fun to play cricket with. I’m really enjoying it, and being part of the team.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh