On international left handers day it was fitting that it was two left handers for the Derbyshire Falcons who set about posting the imposing total for the Rapids to chase.
Skipper Billy Godleman scored 92 off 66 balls and Luis Reece added 51 off 40 balls and between them finding the boundary 18 times for sixteen fours and two sixes.
Their opening stand of 135 was the third-highest partnership by a Derbyshire pair in T20 and the highest at their home ground.
When Reece fell in the 16th over to the impressive Daryl Mitchell it stalled the innings a little, with a score of 200 on the cards previously, they had to settle for 181-2. That was the only thing Derbyshire had to settle for on the evening as they ran out winners by 20 runs, collecting two points for the victory, which moves them to fourth in the North group and into the final quarter final place. The loss leaves Worcestershire still third in the table, one point ahead of their hosts this evening on 10.
Godleman also had to settle for 92, his highest in competition, but when he holed out to Derbyshire old boy Ross Whiteley on the boundary off the first ball of the 20th over, he would not have been human if he wasn’t thinking of becoming just the fourth Derbyshire batter to reach three figures in T20 cricket.
However hole out he did, picking out the only man on the offside boundary off Pat Brown to end his innings. Godleman’s departure brought Leus Du Plooy, another left hander, to the crease and his three balls yielded 10 runs and gave the total a more intimidating look to it.
Worcestershire’s side is packed with big hitters, but they did not get the memo and, with a side packed with right-handers, they were always destined to come out second best.
Even when overseas pair Martin Guptill and Callum Ferguson were going well, reaching the halfway point in their innings on 82 for the loss of Rikki Wessells, run out in calamitous fashion by Alex Hughes, with both batsmen at the same end, they still needed exactly ten an over for ten overs.
It was this need to up the scoring rate and the introduction of birthday boy Matt Critchley, which started to see wickets fall and the game fall away from the Worcestershire Rapids. Critchley finished with impressive figures of four for 36 off his four overs and was ably supported by Luis Reece following on from his batting with four overs of tight bowling returning figures of one for 27.
Some lusty blows by Ben Cox and Ed Barnard in the closing overs took Worcestershire to within twenty runs, but in all reality they were never close enough to challenge the home side.
A sentiment echoed by Falcon’s skipper Billy Godleman who said “I felt that when I caught Whiteley off Luis (Reece) it was going to take something spectacular for them to win it from there.”
Godleman was also keen to pour praise on his bowlers who put the brakes on the Worcestershire big hitters, saying: “Critch (Matt Critchley) rightly deserves all the plaudits for getting out all their big wickets and four in total, but its only right to identify the way that all those boys in the middle, Luis Reece, Alex Hughes and Critch took the pace off the ball and really changed the game for us.”
On a slowing pitch he was right to identify those bowlers, they really did move the game in the Falcons’ direction.
Following this match the Rapids travel to Durham on Thursday and will be looking to bounce back from this defeat and ensure they stay ahead of the chasing pack as they sit third in the table, a chasing pack now led by the Derbyshire Falcons who welcome Leicestershire on the same evening and will be looking to cement their place in the top four and gain a quarter final place.