Tom Knight smashed 44 off just 18 balls, but a brutal innings from South Africa international Richard Levi guided Northamptonshire to a four-wicket win a thrilling NatWest T20 Blast fixture at Northampton, writes Neil Bates.
Gareth Cross top-scored for the Falcons with 48 runs and he was ably assisted by Billy Godleman (38) and Knight, who hit 5 sixes in his unbeaten 44, as Derbyshire posted 191-6.
Northants made a quick start in reply thanks to openers Levi (69) and David Willey (40) before Graeme White (12 of two balls) hit successive sixes to see the Steelbacks to victory with four balls to spare.
Losing the toss and asked to bat first, Derbyshire got off to a flyer with Marcus North opening the batting in the absence of Wes Durston. North built a partnership of 67 for the second wicket with Cross that moved Derbyshire to 54-1 after six overs.
North was eventually caught for a run-a-ball 29 and Cross was also caught soon after, top-scoring with 48 from only 33 balls (5 fours and 1 six). Derbyshire lost Wayne Madsen and Alex Hughes cheaply in quick succession which brought the returning Billy Godleman and Tom Knight to the crease with the score at 118-5 from 15 overs.
Supporters are advised to arrive early for Sunday’s NatWest T20 Blast fixture - versus Yorkshire Vikings at Queen's Park, Chesterfield - to beat the queues and secure a great view of the action.
Almost 3,500 tickets have already been sold for the match and Chief Executive Simon Storey expects another 1,000 to be sold on the gate.
He said: "Queen’s Park is a special place to watch cricket and a bumper crowd for the visit of Yorkshire will create a special atmosphere.
“We work very closely with Chesterfield Borough Council to host the annual festival and it's something of which the town can be very proud.
“Off the field, the safety and comfort of supporters is top priority.
“We work very hard to transform Queen’s Park into a great venue to watch cricket - with extras seats, toilets, bars and snack vans - and we are bringing in 400 extra seats for Sunday's match against Yorkshire.
Derbyshire travel to the County Ground in Northampton to face the Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Friday 11 July (6.30pm start), as the NatWest T20 Blast campaign continues, by Neil Bates.
Northants’ won the Twenty20 competition in 2013, thanks largely to the efforts of all-rounder David Willey. Willey hit the quickest half-century of the tournament from only 19 balls and then went on to take figures of 4-9 including a hat-trick to seal victory for Northants’ on Finals Day at Edgbaston.
Derbyshire Falcons welcome back batsman Billy Godleman to the limited overs side after he recently made his return from injury, while Marcus North, who missed the four-day fixture versus Essex, returns to Graeme Welch’s side.
Wayne Madsen said: "We have got a couple of Twenty20 games over the next few days, tonight against Northants away then in front of big crowd against Yorkshire at Chesterfield on Sunday.
"We're looking forward to switching formats for the two games and I think it will be good chance for us to improve our Twenty20 form and we're looking forward to the game tonight."
The two sides’ first meeting of the season at The 3aaa County Ground was abandoned without a ball bowled due to rain.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul top scored with 92 before Mark Footitt claimed three wickets in an over, but Derbyshire had to settle for a draw in their four-day fixture versus Essex at Queen’s Park.
Chanderpaul’s 92 and Tony Palladino’s brisk 40 helped the hosts add 131 to their overnight total, declaring on 368-8 shortly after Lunch and setting Essex 367 to win in 61 overs.
Footitt then put Derbyshire in a good position by taking three wickets in an over, with Essex 19-3, but unbeaten centuries from Ryan ten Doeschate (104*) and Nick Browne (100*) secured a draw and 10 points for each team.
Derbyshire enjoyed a successful morning session, progressing their overnight score of 237-5 to 338-8 at Lunch despite the early loss of David Wainwright for 32.
This was thanks largely to a quick-fire 40 from Palladino, who struck four fours and a six in his brisk 55-ball innings. Chanderpaul - who passed 24,000 career first-class runs on Day Three - continued his controlled innings to top score with 92 off 171 balls (9 fours).
Half-centuries from Ben Slater, Wayne Madsen and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have given Derbyshire the edge and set up a potentially fascinating final day against Essex at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.
Knocks from Chesterfield-born Slater (60), Captain Madsen (59) and West Indies international Chanderpaul (62 not out) helped the hosts close Day Three in a strong position on 237-5, a lead of 235.
This after Tony Palladino claimed four wickets in the morning session and Tom Taylor returned career-best figures to dismiss Essex for 277.
Derbyshire claimed the last five Essex wickets for 75 runs to dismiss just before Lunch with a lead of just two runs.
Paceman Palladino bowled a terrific spell to rip through the visitor’s tail. In his 45-ball stint, the former Essex man returned impressive figures of 4-14, ending the innings with 4-65 off 33 overs.
Taylor, meanwhile, claimed the fifth wicket of the morning, Graham Napier lbw for two, to return career-best first-class figures of 3-62 off his 20 overs.
Essex’s Nick Browne hit a career-best 86 before rain washed out the final session, with the visitors 202-5, trailing Derbyshire by 73 runs after Day Two at Queen’s Park.
Opener Browne batted throughout the day to end unbeaten just 14 runs short of his maiden first-class century.
New Zealand opener Jesse Ryder was the next highest scorer of the day, hitting 32 off 36 balls, but he was one of two victims to Academy graduate Tom Taylor, who was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2-49 off his 15 overs.
Mark Footitt, who removed opener Tom Westley for four the previous evening, dismissed England’s Ravi Bopara in his second over of the day, to return figures of 2-61 off 14 overs.
Alex Hughes, meanwhile, bowled 14 overs for just 22 runs, and claimed the wicket of Ryan ten Doeschate (2) during an economical spell of bowling.
Wayne Madsen and Wes Durston shared a 146-run stand as Derbyshire posted 275 on the opening day against Essex at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.
The pair batted throughout the entire afternoon session, but Durston was forced to retire hurt, for 74, shortly after Tea after taking a blow to the helmet from Graham Napier.
Madsen top scored with 90 for Graeme Welch’s side, but Derbyshire lost a flurry of wickets in the final session to be dismissed for 275.
Mark Footitt (1-14) claimed an early wicket in reply, as Essex closed the day on 25-1, trailing by 250 runs.
Ben Slater (13) and Paul Borrington (23) added 39 runs for the first wicket, but both, and West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul (15), making his return from international duty, fell before Lunch, with Derbyshire 95-3.
The afternoon, however, belonged to Madsen and Durston as the pair went unbeaten throughout the session to add 142 runs and take their side to 222-3 at Tea.
Supporters of Derbyshire and Yorkshire are set to turn Queen’s Park in Chesterfield red this coming Sunday, as the two sides meet for their traditional NatWest T20 Blast local derby (2.30pm start).
The Club and national charity Heart Research UK are urging supporters to don the charity colours of red or purple at the game to raise awareness for this worthy cause.
Over 1,500 Cricket Derbyshire Helping Hearts wristbands have already been distributed to ticket buyers and plenty more will be available at the ground, alongside opportunities to donate to the charity around the ground.
Tickets will be available on the gate; however, the best value can be obtained by purchasing in advance of the day of the game.
This charity event follows the success of Chesterfield Turns Pink in 2013, also held at Queen’s Park, which raised in excess of £25,000 for the McGrath Foundation, Breast Cancer Care and the Cricket Derbyshire Foundation.
Local boy Ben Slater is set to make his four-day return for Derbyshire on his home patch, as Derbyshire welcome Essex to Queen’s Park, Chesterfield tomorrow (Monday), 11am start.
The 22-year-old, who has played club cricket at Queen’s Park since Kwik Cricket at the age of seven, comes into the Derbyshire squad - alongside West Indies international Shivnarine Chanderpaul – after the opener hit 54 against India at Derby last week.
“I am really excited about the prospect of playing first-class cricket again at my home ground,” Slater said.
“I played in the first-class fixture last summer against Yorkshire and it was a very special moment.
“Playing at your home ground and scoring a few runs is what dreams are made of. Hopefully I can come into the side, perform well and score a few runs.
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