Party starts for Derby as 12-year quarter-final itch is scratched

Party starts for Derby as 12-year quarter-final itch is scratched

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Wayne Madsen in action. Picture © Luke Adams

Derbyshire set out this evening with their destiny in their own hands, knowing a victory would hand them a home quarter final and by the end of the evening it was still in their hands and they were celebrating a first home quarter-final in the Natwest T20 Blast and their first overall since 2005, winning by 48 runs with 4.2 overs to spare.

The celebrations had started in the crowd long before the final wicket fell, as the Worcestershire innings fell away in the face of a dominant Derbyshire bowling attack.

Daryn Smit, standing in for Gary Wilson who was again away on international duty, lost his third consecutive toss and with the threat of rain about it was no surprise when Rapids captain Joe Leach invited his hosts to bat first.

At the end of the third over when Derbyshire had only managed ten runs for the loss of Billy Godleman it looked an excellent decision, three overs later when they had only added 33 more and lost the wickets of Luis Reece and Matt Critchley, it still looked an excellent decision.

On a pitch that always offered assistance to the bowlers, Derbyshire made steady progress throughout the innings, kept in check by the young pace attack of Worcestershire and the experienced overseas player Mitchell Santner.

They were to find boundaries hard to come by and from the ninth to the 15th over failed to cross the rope.

But they kept a steady scoring rate batting sensibly looking for gaps and running hard for singles and twos, marshalled beautifully by the exceptional Wayne Madsen.

He became the second Derbyshire batsmen this season to score four 50s in a T20 season and took his season total past 500, the first time a batsmen has achieved this feat.

As Derbyshire moved towards a score which looked to be under par, strangled by some excellent bowling from Brett D’Oliveira and Hepburn, it took an injection of impetus in the 18th over by Madsen and Matt Henry who both cleared the rope for six and pushed Derbyshire towards what looked like a defendable total.

The last two overs reverted to type and saw singles and twos, but the damage was done and the total of 147 on a tricky pitch looked a reasonable total if not an imposing one.

If Leach was happy with his decision to bowl first at the half way stage, six overs later as his side finished the Powerplay on 39 for 4 with Leach, Clarke, Cox and D’Oliveira all back in the changing rooms he may have begun to doubt his decision.

A clearly fired-up Falcons bowling attack came out and blew away the top order with Hardus Viljoen bowling fast and accurately and Wayne Madsen being his usual nagging self. It only got worse for Leach and his team as their batting order capitulated.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals realistically putting the game beyond them, as Imran Tahir did exactly what he was brought into the club to do, destroying the Rapids middle order, taking four wickets for just 17 runs in a man of the match performance that bowled Derbyshire to victory.

All the bowlers deserve praise though, as they all contributed to fine victory and one of the most impressive bowling displays seen from a Derbyshire bowling unit.

Derbyshire now move onto their quarter-final which will see Hampshire visit the 3aaa County Ground for the first time in T20 cricket, on Tuesday.

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