Shiv Thakor’s maiden List A century powered Derbyshire to their first ever chase of 300 or more in one-day cricket and Billy Godleman his first victory in 17 attempts as Falcons captain.
They did it in some style too, Godleman also making 95 in a second-wicket stand of 168 as the hosts made light work of Northants 307-7 to win by six wickets with eight balls to spare.
Thakor made 130 and also took 3-39 as the visitors couldn’t fully capitalise on Richard Levi’s 109, before their bowlers toiled for the second game running.
Warwickshire knocked off 159 for no loss on Thursday, and with two of Derbyshire’s four wickets to fall coming via run outs, the Steelback’s bowlers have sent down 76 overs in this years’ One-Day Cup between them for only two wickets.
Godleman and Thakor made light work of the task in hand, keeping with the required run-a-ball throughout, and although the former fell just short of a hundred, Derbyshire could cruise home and ease past their previous record chase of 298 against Worcestershire last year with four overs to spare.
For Godleman it was the end of a year long wait to skipper his side to victory, having gone winless in the Championship last year, before also taking over the one-day captaincy this season.
It was only the second one-day game Thakor has played in a new role at number three, having also taken the position in the Championship, and he is relishing the opportunity while praising the platform set by the openers.
“Its been a great day for us all,” Thakor said.
“We came here looking for that first win, the most important thing it’s we’ve got the two points. We’ve got three points on the board so we’re all thrilled from today’s performance and looking forward to Tuesday.
“They got off to a flyer, we’re blessed to have two such good opening batsmen, Billy played fantastically today, led from the front. It was a shame he didn’t get the hundred he deserved.
“They set a great platform, we were ahead of the game and it made it a lot easier coming in, luckily I got off to a nice start, I was just trying to support Billy out there.
“There was an opportunity there [at number three], something I relish. It’s the best chance you get to impact and contribute to match-winning performances. I want to challenge myself and make significant runs, it was something I wanted to do and hopefully it’s a start.”
It was a victory that had looked unlikely at the halfway point as Northants’ posted a total that Derby had only exceeded four times in their List A history, as Richard Levi made hay at the venue for the second time in three weeks.
His 99 played a key role as Northants chased 336 to win the Championship clash between the sides over the Easter weekend and although he would make three figures, his first one-day hundred for Northants, it wouldn’t be enough.
Josh Cobb also passed 50, but was bowled round his legs by Thakor six runs later, while Ben Duckett (21), Rob Keogh (23) and Alex Wakely (38) all made starts but couldn’t kick on.
Having raced out the blocks with 71 from the opening powerplay and 236-4 at the 40-over mark, Northants looked set to get well in excess of 300, but couldn’t accelerate in the final ten. Levi was unable to truly open his shoulders until after reaching three figures in the 48th over.
Had Northants posted the extra 30-40 that looked possible at that stage, it might have proved a task too far, but once Godleman and Slater had put on 68 in the first ten overs, the hosts never looked in danger.
With the visitors bowling attack offering too many boundary balls, 12 coming in the first powerplay itself, even Slater’s run out couldn’t derail the chase as Thakor was quickly into his stride. Northants spinners were unable to gain any assistance, after Derbyshire’s Jeevan Mendis had also struggled.
The pair ensured the required rate never crept much higher than the run a ball mark throughout, the only half chance coming when keeper Adam Rossington couldn’t get a thin edge down the leg side.
The pair were locked on 94 apiece with the 150 partnership brought up, Thakor winning the race to his century, passing a previous best of 83 with three consecutive boundaries off Steven Crook.
Godleman couldn’t follow however, falling five short of repeating his only previous century, also against Northants two years ago.
It wouldn’t stop the march to victory as Wayne Madsen joined Thakor, although both would fall in the 46th over. Madsen was caught at cover off Buck before two balls later Thakor hit a high full toss, called a no-ball, to Graeme White in the deep, only to run himself out attempting a second.
All it meant is that new signings Gary Wilson and Daryn Smit were able to mark their home debuts with a brief cameo to take their side over the line for a first victory following Thursday’s washout at Durham, whilst Northants are already up against it to qualify following back to back defeats.
“Every time we tried to put the foot down and put them under pressure we lost a wicket and had to rebuild,” Northants’ centurion Levi said afterwards.
“We got plenty of good partnerships we just didn’t get one big or effective one, but at 307 at the beginning of the day we’d have taken it.
“It’s not impossible and with the games coming thick and fast you get the momentum, get some wins other teams are losing so we’re not out of it by any stretch. But Wednesday at home is a big game to stamp our authority and get some points on the board.”