Derbyshire Falcons end winless run with victory over Worcestershire Rapids
Derbyshire Falcons ended a run of three successive defeats and dealt a further blow to Worcestershire Rapids hopes of reaching the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals with a seven wicket success at New Road.
The Rapids recovered from a dismal start to set a challenging target of 186 thanks to some spectacular late big hitting by keeper Ben Cox and Matt Henry.
The Falcons kept up with the necessary run-rate and when the heavens opened at the end of the 15th over they had reached 130-3 having inched ahead of the DL total of 128.
The weather relented and the players returned but it made no difference to the outcome as Chesney Hughes and Wayne Madsen pressed the accelerater to see the Falcons home with seven balls to spare.
Madsen ended on 59 and Hughes 43 as the pair added an unbroken 97 in nine overs.
It means the Rapids, the early pace-setters in the North Group, have now lost three of their last four games with the other being a no-result.
Fit again skipper Wes Durston set the tone for the Falcons reply with 32 from 19 deliveries in an opening stand of 48 in five overs with Hamish Rutherford.
He eventually heaved across the line and was bowled by Henry.
Kyle Abbott conceded 28 runs in his first two overs on his home debut but then held onto a fine low catch at long off to dismiss Hamish Rutherford (37) in Joe Leach’s first over.
Leach, the leading wicket-taker in the T20 Blast this summer, collected his 18th wicket of the campaign when Neil Broom (6) was caught on the cover boundary.
But Hughes struck the Rapids vice-captain for two sixes to keep the visitors in contention before the rain break.
On their return Madsen took over the mantle of chief aggressor and reached his half century off 31 balls with three sixes and four fours.
Ben Cox had celebrated signing a new four year contract with Worcestershire earlier this week by scoring a competition best 63 not out as he and Henry rescued the Rapids and enabled them to post a competitive total.
The Worcestershire wicket-keeper smashed two sixes and seven fours in his 29 ball knock and Henry was equally effective in making an unbeaten 35 from just 15 deliveries.
The eighth wicket pair bludgeoned 62 off four overs and 41 from the last two as Worcestershire closed on 185-7.
Worcestershire, who had not arrived back from yesterday’s T20 Blast clash at Durham until 3.30am, had been put into bat and lost four wickets inside the first four overs to Jimmy Neesham and Andy Carter.
Neesham had home skipper Daryl Mitchell (0) caught behind and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (24) was undone by a shorter ball from the New Zealander and helped it around the corner to leg slip.
Carter struck twice in his first over as Alexei Kervezee (1) fended a through ball to the keeper and Joe Clarke (7) top edged a catch to third man.
Former Derbyshire player Ross Whiteley (18) hit one typically massive six off Neesham but then holed out to long off in Alex Hughes’ first over and the same player accounted for Brett D’Oliveira (17) who went for a ramp shot and perished at short fine leg.
Leach (13) helped Cox add 44 before he heaved across the line and gave Alex Hughes a third wicket and the Falcons bowler finished with T20 Best figures of 3-23.
The game was played under the banner of #YELL4FELL and Cricket Versus Cancer after the battle of Worcestershire batsman Tom Fell and first team scorer Dawn Pugh against the disease.
The Worcestershire players wore a one-off yellow kit in support of their colleagues which was auctioned off after the game to supporters for various cancer charities.
Falcons man of the match Wayne Madsen said: “We bowled very well upfront and to pick up the wickets was crucial. We were a little sloppy towards the back end with our skills and they were able to get 25-30 more than they were looking like getting.
“It was a really good wicket with good pace so you could hit through the line and because of the great start Wes Durston and Hamish Rutherford gave us, it laid the platform.
“We knew with a total like that we had to go hard upfront anyway and that’s what the boys did and it allowed us to free up and finish things off at the back end.”