Lightning romp to eight-wicket win against the Falcons
Lancashire enjoyed an emphatic eight-wicket victory against Derbyshire at Aigburth to head the North Group table at the halfway stage of the Vitality Blast.
It was the Lightning’s bowlers who took the plaudits after restricting the Falcons to a total of 98-7 on a slow pitch at Liverpool.
Alex Davies and Keaton Jennings replied with an opening partnership of 61 inside 11 overs to help ease the Lightning to their target of 99 in the 18th over.
Lancashire, missing Liam Hurt and the injured Steven Croft, made a dream start to reduce Derbyshire to 18-4 by the end of the six-over powerplay after putting the visitors in to bat.
Tom Bailey struck with his first delivery at the start of the 3rd over which Billy Godleman lofted straight to Luke Wood at mid-on. Wood, on his Lightning T20 debut, then effected the second wicket himself with a direct hit at the bowlers end to run out Luis Reece five balls later after the batsman attempted a sharp single.
And the visitors were soon in deeper trouble when Wayne Madsen was well caught down the leg side for 1 by a diving Davies to give Bailey a second wicket in the 5th over and Leus du Plooy top edged a checked stroke into the hands of Davies off Danny Lamb at the start of the 6th over to depart for 4.
The Lightning attack continued to exert a stranglehold on the Falcons batsmen, with Matt Critchley lbw to Tom Hartley for 6 midway through the 11th over to leave the visitors’ innings in tatters on 35-5. Hartley finished with the outstanding figures of 1-14 from his 4 overs.
An almightly mix-up saw the departure of Anuj Dal run out for 5 from the last ball of the 14th over over with both batsmen ending up at the same end with the Falcons on 48-6.
The visitors fought back, adding 50 runs from the remaining six overs. Incredibly the Falcons had hit just one boundary in the first 15 overs before Alex Hughes twice swept Parkinson to the square leg fence in the 16th.
Hughes fell lbw to Stephen Parry, playing his first T20 match since 2018, for 32 from 31 balls while a six by Mattie McKiernan in his unbeaten 24 from 18 balls helped take Derbyshire to 98-7 from their 20 overs.
Bailey finished with 2-13, Lamb 1-14 and Parry with 1-17 with Derbyshire’s total the ninth time a side has scored less than 100 against the Lightning in T20 matches.
Opening pair Davies and Jennings began the Lightning reply cautiously but three successive boundaries by Davies off Ed Barnes in the 5th over soon had the scoreboard moving along swiftly to see Lancashire end the powerplay on 32-0.
The pair soon posted their third consecutive fifty partnership before Davies played-on to Critchley for 36.
Josh Bohannon fell for 3 to a spectacular leaping catch at mid-on by McKiernan off du Plooy in the 14th over with the score 68-2.
Jennings replied with consecutive drives for four off du Plooy in the same over, his first boundaries of the innings, on his way to an unbeaten 49 and it was left to skipper Dane Vilas to finish proceedings with a straight six into the empty pavilion seats from the second ball of the 18th over to clinch Lancashire’s first-ever T20 win at Aigburth.
"It was hard work," admitted Keaton Jennings. "But it was good to get the win and the points. It keeps us rolling forward in this competition."
"The pitch was slow and the surface was tacky," he said. "You can see (on the outfield) how boggy it is. I thought we did really well to restrict them with the way we bowled.
"There were only a handful boundaries all day and it was tough to feel any rhythm and get the ball away.
"It's a massive outfield too and it made run scoring really tough.
"It was tough to just come in and play, but Davo put a couple (of boundaries) away early doors and that put us ahead of the game and it stayed that way all the way through."
"It was a really good day for us."
Photos: Barry Mitchell