Match Preview: Falcons vs Lightning
Glen Chapple's men travel to Derbyshire for their fifth Vitality Blast match
Lancashire’s boulder continues to roll, to coin a phrase from within the dressing room.
The Lightning are unbeaten at the start of the North Group campaign, and the new league leaders are fast becoming a side who many are tipping as serious Blast title contenders.
A win tomorrow would be their fourth on the spin added to a No Result at Leicester a week ago yesterday.
Last night, Dane Vilas’ side won their second match in as many days, adding a convincing victory over champions Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford, by 21 runs on Duckworth Lewis Stern, to Thursday’s Roses win at Emerald Headingley.
It means they are top of the group on seven points, two ahead of Birmingham Bears in second.
Derbyshire have had a mixed start to their campaign, losing two from three, but they are a dangerous opponent.
The bulk of Lancashire’s injury concerns are behind them following the recent returns of star duo Liam Livingstone and Saqib Mahmood. It would be no surprise at all if the Lightning named the same team for the third game running.
Derbyshire are being coached in T20 this season by former Red Rose all-rounder Dominic Cork, who featured in three Finals Day for Lancashire in 2004, 2005 and 2007. They have further Red Rose links in Luis Reece, Matt McKiernan and Scottish spinner Mark Watt, who represented the Lightning in last season’s Blast. Mal Loye is also on their first-team coaching staff.
Their only win so far from three games (added to two defeats) came against Yorkshire at Chesterfield last Saturday afternoon. Left-armer Watt starred with four wickets.
Experienced batting duo Billy Godleman, their captain, and Wayne Madsen are two players to be wary of, while New Zealand fast bowler Logan van Beek is their only overseas. Australia seamer Kane Richardson had signed, only to withdraw from his contract following World Cup selection.
The Falcons finished seventh in the North Group last season having reached the quarter-finals in 2017.
Cork was Derbyshire’s assistant coach for this competition alone last year and has since replaced John Wright as their head coach.
They were beaten by East Midlands rivals Nottinghamshire at the County Ground last night, losing by 27 as they failed to chase a 199 target.
Lancashire completed the double over the Falcons last season, firstly on the back of a Liam Livingstone century at Derby and then thanks to Toby Lester’s career best 4-25 in only his third game.
Captain Livingstone smashed 44 off 21 balls at the top of the order in the mid-July thriller at Emirates Old Trafford, the feature innings in the hosts’ 157-8 having elected to bat first on a pitch which favoured pace off.
Left-arm seamer Lester removed Ben Slater and Pakistani pinch-hitter Wahab Riaz early on (30-2) before Callum MacLeod and Wayne Madsen shared 51 to give the visitors real hope.
Matthew Parkinson then claimed two of three wickets to fall for 15 as Derbyshire slipped from 81-2 to 96-5 in the 15th over. But still the game was not dead as Daryn Smit (28) and Lancashire-born Matt Critchley (19) took the target down to 23 off the last two overs.
Thankfully, however, James Faulkner conceded only five from the 19th over, leaving Lester defending 18 off the last, in which he removed both danger-men.
WHAT THEY SAID
Liam Livingstone has revealed the reason why his return to action from an intercostal injury is almost three weeks ahead of schedule, giving the county a serious boost.
Livingstone starred in last night’s win over Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford with 3-21 from four overs of leg-spin and then 21 off 14 with the bat, including two incredible scooped sixes off South African seamer Wayne Parnell, as the hosts reached 71-1 after nine overs chasing 131.
The former skipper suffered the injury during the Championship draw against Durham at Sedbergh, only to return in Thursday’s Blast win at Yorkshire.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Derbyshire fixture, a game in which he scored a century last year, he said: “I’m sure our physios Sam Byrne and Rooster (Dave Roberts) are fed up of my voice in their ear over the last two weeks.
“When I did it, I was told there would be no way I’d be back before six weeks maybe longer.
“So I’ve tried to work as hard as I could and have been yapping away at the physios to try and push my rehab along. And, thankfully, Rooster has don a lot of work with m away from here and it’s recovered quicker. Three weeks and here we are.
“It’s pretty much half of what was expected.
“It’s still a bit scary when we’re picking up balls and throwing on the move and stuff. But it is what it is. Hopefully it’s all good for the rest of the season.”
Buy your Vitality Blast tickets
Don’t forget to buy your tickets to watch Lancashire Lightning in the third home Vitality Blast fixture of the summer against Nottinghamshire Outlaws on Saturday 3 August.