Livingstone demolishes Derbyshire in Blast defeat

Derbyshire CC 2018,
T20 skipper Gary WilsonDerbyshire CC 2018,
T20 skipper Gary Wilson
Derbyshire CC 2018, T20 skipper Gary Wilson
Liam Livingstone demolished the Derbyshire Falcons with a brilliant century off 49 balls as Lancashire Lightning bounced back in style with a nine wicket victory in the Vitality T20 Blast at Derby.

Derbyshire captain Gary Wilson said: “I thought Lancs played pretty good cricket and unfortunately we haven’t played as well as we wanted but Liam Livingstone played a top knock.

“I think maybe the difference between the two sides was that we probably left a few out there with the bat but we were 20 for 2 and it’s tricky to come back from that after four overs.

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“With the ball I thought we were perhaps a little bit too full looking at the lengths they bowled but we’ve only been together as a squad for the last three or four days and we’ll be better on Sunday.”

After Thursday’s defeat to Worcestershire Rapids, the Lightning needed to respond and they delivered by restricting the Falcons to 161-4 before Livingstone and Alex Davies surged towards the finishing line on a tide of boundaries.

Wayne Madsen made an unbeaten 76 from 49 balls and Calum Macleod 44 on his debut, but the Lightning bowled well with Toby Lester taking 1-10 in his first T20 appearance as the visitors won with 33 balls to spare.

The Falcons struggled from the start, losing a wicket after being put in to the fourth ball of the innings when Ben Slater was run out by a direct hit from Steven Croft at point and Matt Critchley went three overs later when he drove Lester to extra cover.

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Lester showed good control and although MacLeod marked his first appearance for the Falcons by driving Jordan Clark into the seats at the City End, the home side were in need of acceleration at 62-2 after 10 overs.

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Madsen scored four 50s in last season’s Blast and he twice drove Matt Parkinson down the ground for boundaries before pulling James Faulkner just past a fielder at deep backward square for another four.

MacLeod swept Livingstone to the fine leg boundary and the Lightning’s ground fielding was starting to look ragged as the third wicket pair moved through the gears.

But when Macleod tried to cut Jordan Clark and was caught behind in the 15th over, the Lightning reeled the Falcons back in with only 27 runs coming from four overs.

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Madsen broke free by cutting Clark over the wicketkeeper for six and Alex Hughes pulled his first ball from Faulkner for six as 30 came from the last two overs.

Livingstone launched the chase by driving Wahib Riaz into the sightscreen and Davies pulled Lockie Ferguson for four before driving Wayne Madsen over long off for six.

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The Lightning’s skipper cut and pulled Ravi Rampaul for boundaries and the game was running away from the Falcons as Livingstone and Davies plundered 17 from Hardus Viljoen’s first over.

Livingstone reached 50 off 28 balls and celebrated by driving and pulling Critchley for consecutive sixes as the Lightning passed 100 in only the ninth over.

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Davies reached 50 off 35 balls before Livingstone smashed Viljoen for three sixes to complete a superb century and although he was caught at slip in the 15th over after smashing nine fours and seven sixes, the game had long been over as a contest.

Lancashire captain and hero Livingstone said: “The way our bowlers bowled set us up for that innings.

“All the credit goes to them, they bowled a perfect length for that wicket.

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“Toby (Lester) bowled beautifully and he’s been doing that for a long while now, he deserved his chance tonight and he took it with both hands.

“We needed to respond and we did it in the perfect way, that was close to a perfect performance.”