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MATCH PREVIEW: Derbyshire Falcons v Lancashire Lightning

MATCH PREVIEW: Derbyshire Falcons v Lancashire Lightning

Lancashire are nearly there in terms of qualification for quarter-finals.

Derbyshire Falcons v Lancashire Lightning
Vitality Blast, North Group
Thursday July 11, 2024, 7pm
The County Ground, Derby

Sat second in the North Group on 13 points from 10 games, including six wins, they have a three-point cushion to fifth-placed Derbyshire - their next opponents.

It’s likely that, with four remaining games, one more win would be enough to qualify for the Lightning for the last eight.

Lancashire have played some excellent cricket this campaign, not least against Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday when they won by two wickets chasing 182.

New Zealand overseas batter Tom Bruce led the chase with 50 not out off 36 balls.

Derbyshire are firmly in the mix for the quarter-finals, boosted by back-to-back weekend wins over Leicestershire away and Yorkshire at home - the latter at Chesterfield.

They are on 10 points with five wins, five defeats in fifth place, one point outside of the top four.

This will hopefully also be a landmark evening for Steven Croft, who is just five runs away from posting 5,000 Vitality Blast runs. Croft has scored 5,463 so far in his T20 career, but that haul includes runs for Auckland and Northern Districts in New Zealand.


Derbyshire are one of five counties never to have won the Vitality Blast; Durham, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Yorkshire are the others.

They last reached the quarter-finals in 2022 but have every chance of doing so again this campaign under the captaincy of veteran all-rounder Samit Patel.

They will hope it’s a case of hitting form at the right time having claimed those aforementioned two wins from two on Saturday and Sunday.

Captained by Patel and coached by Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa and Australia coach, the Falcons have fast bowlers Mohammad Amir (Pakistan) and Daryn Dupavillon (South Africa) available as overseas players.

New signing David Lloyd - he joined them from Glamorgan over the winter - is their leading Blast run-scorer so far in 2024 with 280 with two fifties.

Another new recruit, Pat Brown - the ex-England T20 seamer - is their leading wicket-taker with 16. He has moved across the Midlands from Worcestershire.

Derbyshire have a couple of Lancashire links in their side in the former of all-rounder Luis Reece and wicketkeeper-batter Brooke Guest. Both should play against their first county.

Opposition player to watch

Aneurin Donald is one of three Derbyshire players in and around the 250-run mark in this season’s Blast.

David Lloyd has 280 from 10 matches, Wayne Madsen 251 from nine and Donald 246 from seven.

Welshman Donald joined Derbyshire from Hampshire over the winter and has enjoyed an encouraging start to life with his third county. He started at Glamorgan.

A talented top order batter, the 27-year-old is opening for the Falcons in this format.

And if he gets going, the right-hander is exciting to watch. A dynamic and adventurous stroke-maker, he has the ability to take a game away from you in a flash.

Last month, he went on a run of scoring 84, 68 and 52 in the space of four Blast innings.

Previous meeting

At the start of last month, Lancashire beat Derbyshire by 57 runs at Emirates Old Trafford, with Australian overseas all-rounder Chris Green announcing himself to Red Rose fans in grand style with runs and then wickets.

The Lightning’s third game in four days to start their Blast campaign yielded a second win.

A number of valuable contributions led to a home total of 179-7. Josh Bohannon top-scored with 39, Tom Bruce added 35, Matty Hurst 27 and Green 22 not out off 11 balls late on.

In reply, Derbyshire got nowhere near, slipping to 122 all out inside 18 overs.

Green’s off-spin returned an outstanding 4-12 from 3.4 overs, while Luke Wells also struck twice.

The Red Rose have won the last three matches against Derbyshire in the Blast.

What they said

Tom Bruce says he attacked Sunday’s match-clinching innings of 50 not out against Worcestershire Rapids with a “carefree attitude” after a difficult start to the summer personally.

New Zealand overseas batter Bruce has been short on runs during the first half of the campaign, with that only his second fifty in 15 matches across both T20 and Championship cricket.

He missed two Championship games and one T20 as a result but scored a half-century in second-team cricket against Yorkshire and another as sub professional for Bolton side Little Lever in the North West Cricket League’s T20 competition.

“Sometimes when you are going through a bad patch or a bad run of form, you almost get the blinkers on and don’t see any way out of it,” said the 32-year-old.

“You’re doing all the right things, but sometimes it needs you to step back and take some time away.

“You’re still training and in the gym, doing all the stuff you need to be doing to get ready to perform. It’s just to get some perspective, some time out and almost refresh yourself.

“I don’t think you need any extra motivation when you’re playing professional sport and for a club like Lancashire. It’s just a tough game. And because you’re doing all the right things, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to reap the rewards.

“It was a bit more of a carefree attitude. Sometimes when you’re trying so hard, it makes it worse. It was just about trying to relax and go back to being me as a cricketer.”

In preview to Derbyshire, Bruce was also asked about the prospect of quarter-final qualification and even a top-two finish for a home tie in the last eight. The Lightning are currently one point clear of Northamptonshire in third with four games remaining.

“First objective is just to be top four and qualify,” he added.

“Then, once you get to the last few games, getting a home quarter-final would be outstanding. We have a good record here at home. But the first objective is to qualify. The rest will take care of itself.”

How’s Stat!

Steven Croft would be only the fourth player to reach 5,000 runs in Vitality Blast history.

The others are James Vince (Hampshire) with 5,699, Joe Denly (Kent and Middlesex) 5,242 and Luke Wright (Sussex) 5,026.

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