The Steelbacks shrugged off the disappointment of their previous Vitality Blast matches to get a win at the 3aaa County Ground.
While their previous two games against Yorkshire Vikings and Birmingham Bears had been losses, the Steelbacks had nonetheless shown promise in several areas, and in Derby they finally put together a complete performance with ball and bat.
Josh Cobb’s 73 off 37 balls will grab the headlines, but credit should be shared around the dressing room for the resolve that was shown in both the field and then during the successful run chase.
The two innings were almost exact opposites of each other.
In the Falcons’ 20 overs the Steelbacks’ bowlers had an outstanding powerplay, conceding just 41 runs and taking two wickets. Rory Kleinveldt was steaming in and hitting the pitch at one end with Nathan Buck showing how much he’s improved during the Vitality Blast at the other, and between them they were finding plenty of bounce and movement that put the home batsmen under pressure.
Then the middle overs saw the home pair of Wayne Madsen and Billy Godleman put together an 83-run stand that brought the home fans to life in the stands. Madsen was caught by Ben Curran – the middle Curran brother making his debut at the 3aaa County Ground – off Ben Sanderson in the 16th over with the score at 138-4, but instead of kicking on the Falcons were restricted to only a further 39 runs from the final four overs.
Last Friday’s game against Birmingham Bears had swung on an expensive last three overs, but in Derby Kleinveldt conceded a relatively miserly 13 before Buck had a sensational final six balls that saw just three runs scored and one wicket taken.
Chasing 178 the Steelbacks got off to a flying start, Ricardo Vasconcelos and Ben Duckett balancing patience with opportunism to lay the perfect foundation for the rest of the innings, scoring 62 runs without loss in the six-over powerplay.
Duckett looked in good nick before being bowled by Alex Hughes for 41 off 29 balls, while Vasconcelos saw his stumps sent flying by a ripsnorting Lockie Ferguson yorker.
Curran fell soon after for two as Ferguson, Hughes and Hardus Viljoen kept things tight to slow up the Steelbacks’ chase.
But Cobb and Alex Wakely would have remembered that the patience shown by Madsen and Godleman had brought rewards in the home innings, and after steadying the ship the experienced pair turned things around in some style.
Wakely kept things sensible, holding up his end with just over a run a ball, which gave Cobb the support he had lacked at the County Ground the previous Friday and the space to enjoy himself, which in turn yielded seven sixes and a quartet of fours.
Then his century had been in vain, this time his contribution proved to be one of several match winners.
The Steelbacks return home on Friday to play Durham Jets under the lights at the County Ground. Play starts at 6:30pm and by booking in advance you can save cash compared to the standard match day prices.
CLICK HERE to book online!