Lancashire's hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 took a blow at Old Trafford today
Derbyshire Falcons clinched a narrow three-wicket win with seven balls to spare in a low scoring contest.
The Lightning fought manfully with the ball, led by impressive returns for left-arm spin duo Gary Keedy and Stephen Parry, but they failed to defend their below par total of 122-8 on a slow pitch ideally suited to the spinners.
Wes Durston starred for the visitors with 2-16 from four overs of off-spin and then with 56 off 36 balls opening the batting as they secured the double after a win at Derby on the opening night of the competition last month.
Steven Croft top-scored with 48 and Paul Horton added 27, while Pakistani Rana Naved-ul-Hasan took 3-20. And although the hosts put the squeeze on to make the contest closer than it could have been in the second half of the innings, Derbyshire were always ahead of the rate
Glen Chapple now expects Lancashire to have to win their remaining three North Division matches to secure a last eight berth. Their matches are against Notts Outlaws, Yorkshire Carnegie and Durham Dynamos, with the first of those coming against Notts at Trent Bridge on Tuesday night.
“We have won three out of three once already in this competition, we need to win three out of three again now, it is as simple as that. We are good enough to do it,” he said.
“We will stick together as a team and fight. We have to play well three times. We can do it, and we firmly believe we can do it, but there is initial disappointment from this defeat because we are playing at home and expect to win.
“It is a big competition with a big carrot at the end of it. We know what we need to do, and we have to go out and do it.”
Croft and Tom Smith shared a partnership of 54 in eight and a half overs for the second wicket after Stephen Moore was stumped with the contest’s second legitimate ball, bowled by off-spinner Durston, after Wayne Madsen had won the toss.
The pair hit five fours and a six between them, but the fence was not found once after the penultimate ball of the fifth over.
Rana bowled Smith with a slower ball in the ninth over before returning to have compatriot Yasir Arafat caught at mid-off and Chapple trapped lbw in the 19th over of the innings, leaving Lancashire at 115-7.
Having earlier been reduced to 78-4 in the 14th over, the home batsmen were always chasing their tails in a bid to come up with a winning score.
The Falcons then capitalised on Usman Khawaja being dropped on four by Moore at cover off Croft’s off-spin - one-handed and to his right - to reach 50-0 in the sixth over.
Durston got the Falcons moving immediately after the drop by hitting Croft for three sixes in four balls, later bringing up his half-century off just 24 balls. When he was stumped by Gareth Cross off Gary Keedy in the 10th over, the visitors were 76-1 and well on their way. Keedy also bowled Khawaja in the same over.
While Keedy returned 2-20, Parry only conceded eleven runs from his four overs as Derbyshire edged towards their target despite further wickets falling to Croft, Arafat and Chapple, who had Tom Poynton caught by Croft at mid-off and Alex Hughes trapped lbw with successive balls in the penultimate over.
“We slightly under-performed with both bat and ball,” added Chapple. “We were confident, but we got off to a bad start losing a wicket in the first over and that put us on the back foot.
“We didn’t really get to grips with the pitch today. They bowled well and got their tactics right and we crawled to a half-decent score. But we didn’t bowl well enough to defend it. It was an under-par score, and Durston batted really well in the powerplay getting 50 in 24 balls, which when you are chasing that sort of total ties the game up.
“He was the only player to get to grips with the pitch unfortunately. The pitch was sluggish and hard work. We just weren’t good enough, and we have to address that.”
Photo (c) Clint Hughes
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd