By Chris Airey
Derbyshire began their 2012 Friends Life T20 campaign in startling fashion with victory over the Lancashire Lightning at the County Ground by 17 runs on Duckworth Lewis.
As rain fell a keen eye was firmly set on the D/L par-scores, but after some impressive hitting from Wes Durston and Ross Whiteley the Falcons began to get ahead and remained there when play was halted in the 12th over.
This came after an impressive fielding display by the home side in which Tim Groenewald claimed two early wickets to restrict the visitors in a tightly fought T20 opener.
Groenewald claimed the game’s first wicket within the second over as danger man Tom Smith was caught at mid-on by Naved for nine after hitting consecutive boundaries.
Stephen Moore led the Lancashire reply, but more tight bowling from Turner made sure it was slow progress in the opening overs.
But the introduction of Rana Naved (0-56) brought a sudden rise in the visitor’s run-rate, as the former Pakistani international conceded 21 runs off his opening over in Derbyshire blue.
But Moore was soon halted by Groenewald for 34 as he was caught behind by Tom Poynton.
Chesney Hughes produced an inspired spell of bowling through the middle overs to restrict the Lancashire attack, conceding just 21 runs and claiming the wicket of Brown (27) from a stunning caught and bowled.
Spin soon brought more success as Wainwright (1-29) quickly claimed the wicket of Horton as he was stumped by Poynton for 11 as Lancashire reached 123-4 in the 16th over.
But Steven Croft was starting to put Lancashire into a match-winning position posting 46 from 35 balls, which included three sixes.
It would be the return off Turner that would bring his demise, first he was hit on the helmet attempting a pull and then he was caught the very next ball as Tuner ended with excellent figures of 1-23 from his four overs.
There was a late flurry of runs from former Pakistani international Yasir Arafat (11*) as Lancashire completed their 20 overs on 168-6.
It was a cautious start by the Falcons as the rain continued to fall, but Durston quickly found his feet regularly finding the boundary, including a huge six over mid-wicket, before he fell for 31 to Mahmood off just 16 balls.
Whiteley soon took over the role hitting 24, one four and two sixes, from 16 balls as the Falcons got further ahead of the required D/L par score.
But a flurry of wickets, Whiteley (24), Madsen (9) and Redfern (0), left the home side on 82-5, narrowly behind on D/L bringing the tie back into balance.
Naved walked out to the middle with purpose and duly dispatched his first delivery for four as he began to build a vital partnership with Hughes.
Hughes was also in the act sending a Parry delivery high over mid-on for six as the pair moved further ahead of the required rate.
But the game was still tight as we entered the 12th over, but a four from Hughes (16*) and three runs from Naved (19*) off a free-hit, accompanied by a couple of wides from Mahmood, led to 16 runs being scored off just three legitimate balls before the rain would fall.
Umpires would meet in the middle and the constant heavy rain would stop play with the Falcons 17 runs ahead on D/L after 11.3 overs.
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