Francois du Plessis hit his maiden century for Lancashire to fire the Lightning to the Friends Provident Trophy quarter finals after a crushing victory over Derbyshire.
The 24 year-old South African amassed 112 off just 86 balls to help the Red Rose county to an imposing 296-8 after they had been invited to bat first on a fast and true track at the County Ground.
Du Plessis hit 12 fours, while Tom Smith hit 59 and Mark Chilton 32 not out to record Lancashire’s highest innings score against Derbyshire in this competition.
Left-arm spinner Gary Keedy claimed 4-43 off nine overs to help bowl the hosts out for 175 inside 39 overs in their reply. The Lightning won by 114 runs on Duckworth Lewis.
Paul Horton began the innings positively, hitting four boundaries before he was caught behind by Jamie Pipe off the bowling of Graham Wagg for 19 in the seventh over of the innings. Smith followed that up with two lots of two consecutive boundaries off successive Ian Hunter overs as the left-hander found his rhythm.
Ashwell Prince, the in-form South African batsman, was Wagg’s second wicket, trapped lbw with an away swinger for just two in the eleventh over. Lancashire were 50-2. But Smith continued on his way, looking particularly strong straight, before Chilton was hit on the elbow twice. He was struck a glancing blow while batting before being hit by a Garry Park throw whilst attempting a quick single. That forced Chilton to retire on three with his side at 66-2 after 15 overs, but the momentum was increased by du Plessis. The Pretorian, who hit 93 not out in a one-day friendly against Bangladesh A last summer, raced to his half-century off just 39 balls. Smith had already reached his second of the one-day season off 65 balls.
Du Plessis looked imperious through the leg-side, and hit Hunter for two successive boundaries just after reaching his 50. Smith was run out going for a second run in the 30th over, ending his 79-ball stay at the crease but the pair had shared an entertaining third-wicket stand of 95 in 15 overs.
The off-spin of Smith and the medium pace of Park then put a little brake on the scoring rate for a while, especially after Smith bowled Steven Croft for eleven in the 36th over and Luke Sutton was caught by Stuart Law at point off Park’s bowling. But du Plessis reached his ton off just 76 balls, including 12 fours, in the 41st over.
Kyle Hogg hit a brisk 20 before he was caught by Wagg at long-off off the bowling of Smith – this was when Chilton returned to the crease – and then du Plessis was on his way back next ball after he swept to Dan Redfern at deep mid-wicket to present Smith with his third scalp.
At this stage, with the Lightning at 238-7 in the 44th, the innings was in a little bit of danger of subsiding somewhat. But Sajid Mahmood walloped Smith for six in an entertaining 15. The England hopeful was bowled by Smith before Chilton and Oliver Newby (12 not out) put on an unbroken 39 for the ninth wicket to end the innings.
Derbyshire made a racing start to their reply thanks in the main to their Australian captain Chris Rogers. The left-hander, who has played just one Test match for his country, was harsh on the bowling of Oliver Newby during his 68. But Hogg struck first in the eighth over when he trapped wicket-taking hero Smith lbw for 12 to leave the hosts at 48-1. Former Lancashire skipper Stuart Law was the next Phantom to depart, caught by Newby pulling to mid-on off the bowling of Smith for just four with Derby were 53-2 in the eleventh.
Rogers and West Indian Wavell Hinds, who scored 95 at Old Trafford earlier this month, put on 46 for the third wicket, but with rain threatening they could not quite get their side ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis figure. And with the rain falling at its heaviest, Rogers fell to Gary Keedy’s fourth ball, caught and bowled off a leading edge, to end his 78-ball stay at the crease. With Derbyshire 99-3 in the 21st, the players left the field.
The players came on with a reduced target of 290 from 48 overs, but that looked an even taller task just two overs later when Hinds scooped Keedy to Croft at cover. The hosts were 106-4 and then Keedy grabbed his third wicket of the evening in the 27th over, as Redfern was well caught, low down, by Smith at mid-on for just two. Mahmood then got in the act with a speedy delivery to rock back Jamie Pipe’s off stump.
Wagg came in and plonked Keedy for a straight six, which actually dented former Lancashire all-rounder Dominic Cork’s car as he commentated on television, but the Derbyshire left-arm seamer was soon bowled by Keedy for ten. Jon Clare was run out by Newby, but Ian Hunter and Park (37 not out) put on 37 for the last wicket before Smith picked up his second when Hunter gloved a rising delivery to Sutton in the 39th over.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd