Leicestershire v Derbyshire at Grace Road on 16 May: NatWest T20 Bash: North Division
By John Brown
Derbyshire started their T20 campaign on a fine evening at Leicester and they were pleased to welcome Marcus North as their overseas player as he arrived to take the place of Shivnarine Chanderpaul who is leaving for several weeks on international duty.
Wayne Madsen won the toss and chose to field first. Mark Footitt responded by taking a wicket with the second ball of the match, but Cobb and Smith played their shots to bring up Leicestershire’s fifty after five overs. The introduction of spinners Wes Durston and Chesney Hughes slowed the home team’s progress to some extent, but the run-rate was always likely to provide Derbyshire with a challenging total.
Scott Styris, playing his first match of the season for Leicestershire, batted steadily at first, but once he had decided to launch his attack there was little that Derbyshire’s bowlers could do to stop him. He hit seven fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 63, with the last fifty-six of them coming from twenty-three balls.
Derbyshire were going to need a positive start if they were to have a realistic hope of chasing down the daunting target of 197 but, despite Stephen Moore’s aggressive cameo (24 from fifteen balls with five fours), they lost three wickets for only 38 runs during the six-over powerplay, and they were very much behind the required rate for most of the remaining overs.
Durston was joined by North and together they gradually raised the tempo before Durston was brilliantly caught one-handed by the diving extra-cover. This pair had added seventy in just under nine overs, and now North attempted to achieve what seemed the nigh-impossible single-handedly. He hit six huge sixes, three of them onto or over the roof of the stands behind the sightscreens, and six fours with his last fifty-six runs coming from only eighteen balls. It was a remarkable display of controlled hitting, but Derbyshire had left themselves with too much to do, and they fell twenty-seven runs short.
It had to be admitted that Leicestershire had deserved their win, with their bowlers delivering fewer hittable balls, and not a single Wide nor No ball did they concede. Even so, North was nominated by the umpires as the deserved Man of the Match for his forty-seven ball innings.
Derbyshire’s next match in this competition will be under floodlights at the 3aaaCounty Ground next Friday when they meet Lancashire, but there will be a practice T20 match at the same venue as the county take on Kevin Dean’s XI on Wednesday evening.
Leicestershire 197 for 4 (20 overs) (SB Styris 63*, JJ Cobb 38, GP Smith 35, NJH Eckersley 33)
Derbyshire 170 for 7 (20 overs) (MJ North 90, WJ Durston 28, SC Moore 24; NL Buck 3 for 26, AJ Ireland 2 for 31)
Leicestershire (2 points) beat Derbyshire by 27 runs
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