Davies shines in Derbyshire thriller
The wicketkeeper hit 82 off 56 balls as the Lightning prevailed in a final ball finish at Emerald Headingley
A fine innings of 82 by Alex Davies helped steer Lancashire Lightning to a tense four–run victory over Derbyshire Falcons at Emerald Headingley to give the Emirates Old Trafford side their second win in three North Group games.
Replying to Lancashire’s 178/5, the Falcons managed 174/7, although a late onslaught by Matt Critchley, who was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings for 32, kept the outcome in doubt until the final delivery of the 20th over.
Having chosen to bat first, Lancashire skipper Dane Vilas saw his decision abundantly justified as Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies rattled up 54 runs in the powerplay overs with Davies hitting three straight sixes, two of which were struck off consecutive balls from Sam Conners.
Leg-spinner Critchley had Jennings caught at deep midwicket by Anuj Dal for 29 in the seventh over to end the 63-run opening stand. However, Davies powered on, reaching his second fifty in as many T20 innings off 31 balls with three fours off successive deliveries from Alex Hughes.
His second-wicket partner, Steven Croft soon picked up the tempo and hit three sixes of his own. The second of these made Croft the first Lancashire batsman to hit a hundred sixes in T20 cricket, although Critchley’s smart work ran out the Lancashire veteran for 38 soon afterwards. This ended his 74-run stand with Davies, those runs having been scored off just 50 balls.
Vilas managed only eight before holing out to Luis Reece at long off and in the next over Davies also perished on the boundary, caught by Leus du Plooy off Conners for a 56-ball 82 that included five fours and a quartet of sixes.
Barnes, Derbyshire’s loanee from Yorkshire, was his side’s most successful bowler with two for 27 from three overs but Critchley’s one for 30 from four was also valuable and Derbyshire’s ground fielding remained sound under pressure.
Derbyshire’s response began poorly when the experiment of opening with Mattie McKiernan ended after two balls when he skied Croft to Vilas at midwicket and departed for only four. The “home” side suffered a more grievous blow three overs later when Godleman was bowled for seven when swinging across the line at Croft.
Reece and Wayne Madsen rebuilt their side’s innings carefully but only 39 runs came in the Powerplay and the introduction of Lancashire’s specialist spinners put a further break on the scoring rate.
Reece had made 39 when his attempted scoop off Danny Lamb on 39 only feathered a catch to Davies behind the stumps and his departure left the Falcons on 60 for three after nine overs.
Although Madsen revived Derbyshire’s spirits with a colossal six off Matt Parkinson, his side were 73 for three at the halfway point of their innings and sorely in need of the six and four Madsen levied off Liam Hurt’s next over, the second boundary being an outrageous ramp shot, concocted as the batsman avoided a bouncer.
Madsen paid the price for his invention, however, by suffering a leg injury which compelled him to use a runner for the rest of his innings. This handicap did not stifle the run rate, though. Du Plooy hit successive sixes off Parkinson, only to be caught at long off by Rob Jones for 29 two balls later when trying to repeat the trick.
That left Derbyshire needing 57 off six overs and their task was immediately made even tougher when Madsen holed out at long off for 44, Jones again taking the catch to give left-arm spinner Tom Hartley his maiden T20 wicket for Lancashire. Tom Bailey and Lamb then kept their nerve to see their side home.