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Date: 15th June 2012
A Paul Edwards copyright exclusive for L&DCC Official Website.
Drizzle, gloom and Derby on a bleak Thursday evening were not the best conditions in which to reacquaint oneself with the instant thrills of Twenty20 cricket. Fleeces were far more common than shorts at the County Ground yesterday, the cheery tone on the tannoy sounded vaguely mocking and the valiant cheerleaders encouraged nothing more than the possibility of pneumonia.
But what you can't change you have to put up with and the home side coped with the English summer at its most unpleasant to beat Lancashire by 17 runs in a match which had to be settled using the Duckworth-Lewis method when the rain grew too heavy even for the tolerance of umpires Peter Willey and Steve O'Shaughnessy.
When the players came off after 11.3 overs of the Derbyshire innings, Wayne Madsen's batsmen were 17 ahead of the score required by D/L and that was enough to settle a game which may be remembered for the exploits of two bowlers.
Most disappointingly for Lancashire fans, one of them was Sajid Mahmood whose 2.3 overs cost 42 runs, 17 of them in what turned out to be the final over of the match when the ex-England seamer sent down six wides and one no-ball off which a bye was scampered.
For Red Rose fans who have seen Mahmood bowling at his best, the 30-year-old's inaccuracy on Thursday evening was the saddest of sights. The seamer's wayward radar undid the good work of Luke Procter, whose two for 15 had helped Lancashire go into the last nine overs of the game with Derbyshire on 101 for five, thus giving Lancashire a good chance of defending their total of 168, in which Steven Croft had made 46 and Stephen Moore 34.
The Derbyshire attack, too, had sent down some dreadful stuff, most notably Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, whose four overs went for 56 runs, the second most expensive t20 figures in his county's history.
Lancashire batsmen climbed into ul Hasan in uncompromising fashion, Croft hitting three sixes and Moore, two, as the experienced bowler struggled with both line and length in the damp conditions.
Neeing to score at 8.45 runs per over to win what was both counties' opening match in this year's Friends Life t20 competition, Derbyshire were given a fine start by Wes Durston, who made 31 before he sliced Mahmood to Croft at point. Ross Whiteley continued the good work by making 24 off 16 balls before he lost his off stump to Steven Parry.
Indeed, for much of their innings Derbyshire were ahead of the score they required under Duckworth-Lewis calculations. Then Procter removed Wayne Madsen for nine and Dan Redfern for a duck to give Lancashire a slight advantage. Unfortunately for the travelling supporters, Mahmood's final six deliveries changed all that.
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