Derbyshire Falcons on track for T20 quarter-finals after win over Leicestershire Foxes

Derbyshire have lost Conor McKerr after only two matches.
Derbyshire have lost Conor McKerr after only two matches.

New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry starred in an outstanding bowling performance by the Derbyshire Falcons as they beat Leicestershire Foxes by seven wickets at Derby to boost their NatWest Blast T20 quarter-final hopes.

Henry took three for 18 in his four overs as the Foxes were restricted to 104 for 9, their lowest T20 score against Derbyshire, who recovered from losing early wickets to claim their fifth victory in the North Group.

Henry said: “We started well with the ball, showed good intent and we managed to keep coming hard at them.

“We’ve got some attacking bowlers in our unit and everyone stepped up today and it was really professional performance.

“We were always confident we were going to chase down that total and although they bowled well up front, we just needed one partnership.”

The Foxes managed only eight boundaries in their 20 overs and although Deitar Klein struck twice in the third over, Wayne Madsen with 49 and Alex Hughes, 36, shared an unbroken stand of 86 to steer the Falcons home with 37 balls to spare.

It was the fourth consecutive defeat for the Foxes, who went into the game without injured fast bowler Clint McKay and then lost their most destructive batsmen in only the second over after the Falcons put them in.

Luke Ronchi played on when he was cramped for room by Hardus Viljoen and for the rest of the innings the Foxes struggled to get the ball away against disciplined bowling with only 29 coming from the powerplay.

Mark Cosgrove was run out going for a quick single to cover and although Cameron Delport swung Madsen high over wide long on for six, he holed out attempting to repeat the stroke.

Colin Ackermann also fell trying to up the tempo when he pulled Ben Cotton’s first ball to deep mid-wicket and after Mark Pettini miscued a pull at Henry, the Foxes were 77 for five in the 15th over.

Any hope of a late flourish vanished as Aadil Ali and Mathews Pillans both tried to attack Imran Tahir and failed and the innings crumbled in the closing stages with Matt Henry striking twice in the 19th over.

Gavin Griffiths at least took the Foxes past 100 when he straight Ben Cotton for four but that was the first boundary for 58 balls which underlined just how well the Falcons had bowled and fielded.

To have any chance of defending their lowest ever T20 score against Derbyshire, the Foxes had to take early wickets and after Matt Critchley had to retire in the first over when he was struck on the helmet by Deitar Klein, Billy Godleman was caught behind driving at Pillans.

After a brief shower, Luis Reece was caught behind down the legside off Klein who swung one back in to bowl Gary Wilson off the last ball of the third over to reduce the Falcons to 21 for three.

Madsen took two fours from Pillans second over and the fast bowler was cut and driven for two more boundaries in his next over to calm the home side’s nerves as the fourth wicket pair completed an impressive afternoon’s work in the 14th over.