Leicestershire Foxes kept their T20 season alive by comprehensively dismantling East Midlands rivals Derbyshire Falcons under the floodlights at the Fischer County Ground. A century opening stand compiled by Foxes skipper Mark Pettini and Mark Cosgrove in just ten overs made Derbyshire’s score of 158 all out look what it was, hopelessly inadequate.
With eight of the previous nine games involving the Falcons having been won by the chasing side, Pettini had no hesitation in choosing to bowl after winning the toss. The opening over of the Derbyshire innings was an eventful one, as Ben Raine bowled two front foot no-balls in his first three deliveries and conceded 13 runs before Wes Durston attempted to force off the back foot and got an inside edge to wicket-keeper Lewis Hill.
If that was a straightforward catch for Hill, the top edge that he held off Hamish Rutherford in Raine’s next over was anything but. Rutherford’s mishit spiralled back over the wicket-keeper’s head, butbHill turned and sprinted 40 yards towards the boundary before flinging himself full length to take the ball two handed a foot above the ground.
Raine then picked up a third wicket when he pinned Chesney Hawkes leg before with a well pitched up delivery which swung back in to the tall left-hander, leaving the Falcons on 42-3 in the sixth over, but Neil Broom and Wayne Madsen steadied the ship with a partnership of 54 for the fourth wicket.
Broom came into the game having failed to make much impact with the bat for the Falcons this season, but the New Zealander combined judicious placement with some well timed hitting to score his first T20 half-century of the season. Madsen was less fluent but gave Broom good support before steering Kevin O’Brien to short third man, where Mark Cosgrove held the catch above his head.
Broom was unfortunate when he attempted to swing Farhaan Behardien’s delivery into the leg side, only to edge the ball into his pad and on to his off-stump, and with wickets continuing to fall, it needed a hard-hitting 45 off 23 balls from Neesham to ensure the Foxes would be required to score at eight an over to win the match.
Pettini and Cosgrove quickly made the target look straightforward. Pettini, who had the majority of the early strike, was first to his half-century, hitting nine fours in going to 50 off 32 balls. Cosgrove, once he started to get the strike, was simply brutal, huge maximums off Tom Milnes and Alex Hughes among the four sixes he hit in 1 26 ball 50 before giving Durston a simple caught and bowled.
While Pettini continued to play sensibly, Leicestershire’s powerful South Africa international batsman Cameron Delport was able to pick up where Cosgrove left off, hitting two sixes, the last to win the match off Matt Critchley, as Leicestershire crossed the line with more than four overs to spare.