Yorkshire clung on for a six run Friends Life t20 victory against Derbyshire at Queen’s Park despite all-round heroics from Albie Morkel.
Morkel took 4 for 25 as Yorkshire were reduced to 142 for 9 from their 20 overs. The South African then bludgeoned 51 not from 31 balls, with three sixes, as the Falcons closed on 136 for 5.
Supporters of both Derbyshire and Yorkshire were united in a big cheer moments before the start of the match as England edged victory in the opening Test of the Ashes series at Trent Bridge.
The home faithful were quickly leading the cheer, however, as Morkel dismissed Joe Sayers for 11, Dan Hodgson for 31, Gary Ballance for 28 and Andrew Hodd for a golden duck to put Derbyshire in the ascendancy at the halfway stage.
Mark Turner added fine figures of 3 for 21 to his four wicket bag at Lancashire two days earlier.
The retirement of Wes Durston through injury, for eight, put an early dent in Derbyshire’s run chase.
Chesney Hughes eased his way to 21 in as many deliveries, but the game was to turn in the space of two deliveries from former Derbyshire loanee Azeem Rafiq.
Captain Wayne Madsen was run out for 19 after a mix-up with Chesney Hughes, who was caught at midwicket off the very next delivery to leave the Falcons 49 for 2.
Rafiq went on to take 3 for 21 – and Adil Rasid 0 for 21 – as Derbyshire struggled for runs against the spinners and were left needing an unlikely 32 to win off the final over of the match, bowled by Liam Plunkett.
Morkel’s lusty hitting, plus one wide, brought 25 from the opening five deliveries and meant a final ball maximum could still force an incredible tie.
The South African, for once, failed to connect; leaving Derbyshire down but – with three wins and three draws from six matches – very much not out of the Friends Life t20 competition.
Turner said: “We bowled well as a unit and got our plans right at the death. But we were poor in the field and gave away too many runs. Looking back on it now, it’s small margins that are tough to take.
“We’ve had a few harsh words so hopefully that’s the kick up the backside we need. The good thing is that everyone is beating everyone in the group so we’re still in with a chance.”
Madsen added: “We have played good cricket in the tournament, then played poorly here and only lost by five. We bowled well, but we fielded poorly and played some silly cricket with the bat.
“We’re on the right track though and the games have been tight. We just need to get rid of these errors. “
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