Match Preview: Derbyshire Falcons v Lancashire Lightning
Lancashire Lightning look to bounce back from Sunday's defeat at Worcestershire Rapids
Vitality Blast, North Group
Tuesday June 15, 2021, 7pm
The Incora County Ground
Lancashire’s winning start to the campaign was ended in comprehensive fashion by 2018 champions Worcestershire on a slow pitch at New Road on Sunday.
Now it is time to try and clip the wings of the Falcons for the second time inside a week.
The Lightning travel to Derbyshire bidding to bounce back from their first defeat in three games, and a victory would see them do the double over Billy Godleman’s side.
While Lancashire lost by eight wickets to Worcester defending only a 133 target, Derby were defeated by Birmingham at home defending a 161 target.
The Bears got home by three wickets to inflict a second defeat in three games on the Falcons having recovered from 18-3.
Having lost to Lancashire last Wednesday, they then beat Leicestershire at Grace Road on Friday.
Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone continue to be available following their England selection. The pair will play another three games, including this. They will depart for international T20 duty against Sri Lanka following Friday’s trip to Birmingham.
Head Coach Glen Chapple has selected an unchanged 14-man squad from the one which travelled to Worcestershire Rapids at the weekend.
Derbyshire’s prolific batsman Wayne Madsen, who suffered a hamstring injury whilst batting in the clash at Emirates Old Trafford last week, has been ruled out by his county for four to six weeks.
Sandwiched in between defeats to Lancashire and Birmingham, the Falcons won a high-scoring game at Grace Road as they posted an imposing 209-6.
Former Lancashire all-rounder Luis Reece posted 50, his second successive fifty after one at Emirates Old Trafford last Wednesday.
But the innings was really boosted by a middle order 80 not out off 45 balls from Matt Critchley.
In reply, Leicester gave it a good despite losing a wicket to the first ball of the chase, bowled out for 186. Reece and Critchley claimed two wickets apiece, while New Zealand overseas fast bowler Logan van Beek claimed three wickets.
The loss of Madsen for the group stages of this competition due to injury is a major blow.
But they still have plenty of power with the bat, with youngster Harry Came replacing him and very capable of clearing the ropes.
With the ball, leg-spinner Critchley has claimed two wickets in each of the last two games, in which Netherlands seamer van Beek has claimed five.
Liam Livingstone’s controlled 94 not out off 58 balls ensured Lancashire cruised to a 169 target to beat Derbyshire by six wickets in the opening game of the 2021 Vitality Blast last Wednesday afternoon.
Opener Livingstone shared half-century partnerships for the first, third and fourth wickets with Finn Allen, Jos Buttler and Dane Vilas on an Emirates Old Trafford pitch which gripped.
The Falcons posted a competitive 168-7, including Luis Reece’s 59 off 32 and 3-28 for Matthew Parkinson, before the Lightning top order entertained a sellout crowd of approximately 4,000 to win with three balls to spare.
New Zealand debutant Allen crashed 29 off 13 balls in the afternoon sunshine before Buttler’s 30 off 28 in his first county appearance since Finals Day 2019.
What they said:
Dane Vilas says there is significant room for improvement for Lancashire, despite winning two out of three to start the Vitality Blast.
Sunday’s defeat against Worcestershire, when the Lightning only made 132-4 on a slow pitch, ended a wining start to the campaign, with the captain admitting: “It was a bit of an off day.
“We obviously didn’t get enough with the bat, then not the best with the ball and not as tight as we have liked in the field. Not great in all.
“But Worcester played really well and put us under pressure.
“There’s a bit of noise about the firepower we have up front, but it was even difficult for those guys to score.”
Despite the comprehensive nature of the defeat, Vilas refused to get too down as the chance to bounce back comes almost immediately at Derby.
“We want to win every game, especially whilst we’ve got all the boys (England internationals) at our disposal. And we expect to win every game,” he said.
“It is only one defeat, and hopefully we can move on and bounce back.”
Three of Lancashire’s much vaunted top four, Liam Livingstone, Finn Allen and Jos Buttler, have all scored half-centuries in the opening games.
“It’s good that no one is dominating,” said Vilas. “It’s like the four-day stuff. A good team performance is what we want.
“But we can play a bit better. We haven’t played a perfect game. There are areas we’d like to improve. We have said that in the changing room.
“Hopefully we can improve through the competition and peak at the right time.
“We’ve won two out of three, and that we’ve done that not playing our best is a good sign. We need to reach our full potential soon because there are some good sides out there.”
Livingstone scored 100 off 51 balls on Lancashire’s last Blast trip to Derby in 2018 when they won by nine wickets chasing a 162 target.
“It’s always a nice wicket there, and hopefully we can put in a good performance against them like we did at Emirates Old Trafford,” said Vilas.
“We would have taken things from that game (last week), but we have to go and perform well on their home ground.”
Vilas has also given an update on injured bowlers Richard Gleeson (back) and Saqib Mahmood (abdomen).
“He (Gleeson) has just been working with the medical staff to make sure he’s fine,” added Vilas. “Hopefully we will see him back soon.
“I think Saqib is a bit more serious, but nothing too bad. We are being cautious with him.
“It would be great to have him back in the side soon as well. But he needs to be 100 percent, especially at the pace he bowls and what he puts his body through.”