On a pitch that had a bit of juice in it and could be described as spicy it was the batting that caught the eye with Derbyshire setting the Steelbacks an imposing 178 to win and the Steelbacks chasing the total down with ten balls to spare.
It was finished by two huge sixes from man of the match Josh Cobb. This gave Northants their first victory of the season in T20 cricket and Derbyshire their 6th defeat.
Derbyshire’s total was mainly thanks mainly to a stand of 88 between the experienced pair of Billy Godleman and Wayne Madsen off 49 balls that made the pitch look more of a cake walk than spicy.
If the pitch was juicy, then Godleman and Madsen’s batting provided some succulent and sumptuous cricket shots, Godleman hitting a career best 77 off 55 balls including four 4s and two 6s, one of which was hit out of the ground and the other would have joined had the tallest building on the ground not got in the way.
Madsen complemented Godleman beautifully, scoring 38 silky runs off 21 balls with seven 4s and ensured the innings momentum never subsided.
Prior to Madsen and Godleman coming together the Falcons had found the going sticky, only scoring 41 for the loss of two wickets in the powerplay and the going looked tough for the batsmen. If Godleman and Madsen’s partnership was the main course, it was skipper Gary Wilson who provided the dessert for Derbyshire with a cameo worthy of finishing any innings – scoring 24 off 16 balls and ensuring that his side had a competitive total to defend.
Northants knew if they were to chase the total set for them they would have to have a good start and that is exactly what they did, with Ben Duckett and Ricardo Vasconcelos batting in such a refreshing way.
It was like an amuse bouche of a start; bright, care free and left you wanting more as they reached 62 without loss at the end of the powerplay with some stunning shots, finding the boundary with regularity, if not ease, as for every crisp boundary there was a mis-timed shot as well.
When Duckett fell in the 7th over, bowled by Alex Hughes reverse sweeping for 41 off 29 balls, Derbyshire may have felt they had a chance, but that brought Josh Cobb to the crease.
He continued to take the game further away from Derbyshire and propelled the Steelbacks to their first victory in the competition this year, scoring 73 off 37 balls including four 4s and 7 6s.
Sandwiched between the excellent Cobb and Alex Wakely, who batted sensibly for 23 off 21 balls, as Cobb was slicing the Derbyshire attack to all parts was the debut of Ben Curran, brother of Tom and Sam Curran, who was Alex Hughes’ second wicket. This was as good as it got for the Falcons who once the Steelbacks got going, never looked like stopping them, scoring boundaries with ease and knocking singles where required.
The result leaves Northants still rooted to the bottom of the North Group table and puts a massive dent in the Falcons’ hopes of qualifying for the quarter finals, as they remain in 5th, just outside the qualifying places.
Their task does not get any easier as they go to New Road tomorrow night to face top of the table Worcestershire and will need to win that game to have any realistic chance of qualifying. Northants welcome second in the table Durham on Friday, still playing for pride.