MATCH PREVIEW: Lancashire Lightning v Derbyshire Falcons
It’s the first of two double header days in three days at Emirates Old Trafford, and Lancashire head into it on cloud nine having last night ended a 13-year hoodoo against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge with an 87-run triumph.
Lancashire Lightning v Derbyshire Falcons
Vitality Blast, North Group
Emirates Old Trafford
Wednesday June 1, 2022, 3pm
The unbeaten Lightning’s second win in three North Group games, added to the Roses tie, was secured in landslide fashion.
Opener Keaton Jennings top-scored with 55 in 178-7 before the Outlaws were bowled out for 91, with Liam Livingstone claiming 3-33 from 3.4 overs.
Not since 2009 had the Red Rose won at T20 on the banks of the River Trent.
But now they face an in-form Derbyshire side who have started their North Group campaign extremely encouragingly, winning two of three games so far.
On Friday, they were beaten at home by Birmingham Bears before winning at Leicestershire on Saturday and at Yorkshire last night.
After this game, the Thunder women play Southern Vipers under lights (7pm) in a Charlotte Edwards Cup game. England stars Kate Cross and Sophie Ecclestone are available to play.
Derbyshire, who reached their only Finals Day in 2019, are aiming to bounce back from disappointment in 2021. They won only four of 12 games, finished second bottom of the North Group and suffered a Covid issue along the way, meaning they only played 12 of their 14 group fixtures.
But it is a new era at the County Ground.
Former South Africa, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur joined the club as their head of cricket over the winter, while Ian Bell is also on board as batting coach after Mal Loye left the East Midlands.
Pakistan international batter Shan Masood has signed as their overseas player for the whole of 2022, and he captains the Falcons in this competition.
Masood has made a fabulous start to his stay with the county. He has scored 844 runs in the County Championship, including a best of 239, the second best haul in the country.
They have also signed Australian all-rounder Hayden Kerr to play all formats. A left-arm seamer and a hard-hitting batter who can open or bat down the order, he helped Sydney Sixers reach the final of the Big Bash in January.
Former Lancashire players Brook Guest, Mattie McKiernan, Luis Reece and Matt Watt are all in their squad, as is the experienced batter Wayne Madsen.
They have won two of their first three games, winning at Leicestershire on Saturday and against Yorkshire at Headingley last night. In the latter, they chased 84 to win by nine wickets with three balls to spare after rain had forced an eight overs per side game.
Opposing player to watch:
Given his form at home and abroad in 2022, it is difficult to look beyond Shan Masood, the left-handed Pakistan Test opener.
Born in Kuwait and educated at Durham University, for whom he played, this is his first taste of county cricket. And the likelihood is it won’t be his last.
His haul of 844 runs in the LV= Insurance County Championship includes back-to-back scores of 239 and 219 against Sussex and Leicestershire in April.
Earlier this year, he was the third leading run-scorer in the Pakistan Super League with 478 from 12 games for beaten finalists Multan Sultans.
A player not known for brute power, he can go through the gears quickly. He hit a calming 32 not out in his side’s victory at Headingley last night.
The latest meeting between the two sides brought a Lancashire victory at Derbyshire’s County Ground last June when the visitors claimed an impressive seven-wicket success chasing 197.
Derbyshire left-hander Leus du Plooy top-scored with 92 in 196-5, including 3-34 for Tom Bailey.
Lancashire then made that total look considerably under par thanks, in the main, to Alex Davies, who crashed 83 not out off 54 balls with 13 boundaries.
Finn Allen fell four balls into the chase before Davies and opener Liam Livingstone (45) shared 96 in eight overs to turn things around in breathtaking fashion.
After Livingstone fell (99-2 in the ninth), Jos Buttler hit two sixes and a four in a 10-ball 20 before he departed at 134-3 in the 13th over. But captain Dane Vilas was as aggressive as any of his top order team-mates, crashing an unbeaten 40 off 18 balls to seal the points with 10 balls remaining.
What they said:
Luke Wood has admitted his delight at earning a maiden England call-up.
The Lightning’s seam bowling all-rounder has been selected in a 14-man national squad for the three-match ODI series in the Netherlands later this month.
Speaking after last night’s win over his former county Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, he said: “If you’d have told me this at the start of the day, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
“It’s been a bit of a crazy afternoon. I got the phone call on the way down (to Notts, from Matthew Mott).
“It was out of the blue, a big surprise, and obviously I’m chuffed with that. It’s a step in the right direction for me, and hopefully I can build on that. At the same time, to top it off with a victory here (at Trent Bridge), it can’t get better really.
“I didn’t really have it on my radar.
“I was in the reserve squad for the West Indies T20 trip over the winter. You always feel you might have half a shot, but I’ve missed out so far. I’ll keep working hard every day and trying to better myself, and thankfully this has come with it.”
On Lancashire’s start to the Blast - two wins and a tie, Wood added: “We’d have taken that if you’d have offered it at the start. We’ve had three tough games.
“Yorkshire are always a strong side. We’d have loved to have won that, but at the same time a tie’s not a terrible result. We played well against Worcester on Sunday. They’re always tricky - they won it in 2018. Then Notts, we know what they can do, especially at home. So, great start.
“It shows everyone in the group what we’re about. Last year, I think our record away from home was pretty poor. So to win our first game away from home this year, it shows a big statement.”
The Lightning have completed the Blast double over the Falcons in each of the last two seasons.