Derbyshire Falcons on brink of T20 Blast quarter-finals
Luis Reece carried Derbyshire Falcons to the brink of the NatWest T20 Blast quarter-finals with 66 from 49 balls that sealed a three wicket win over the Durham Jets at Derby.
Reece scored his fourth T20 fifty as the Falcons chased down 162 with three balls to spare to go second in the North Group with two matches to play.
Stuart Poynter had made a competition best unbeaten 61 from 32 balls as the Jets recovered to 161 for 7 but Reece again played a decisive hand to turn the game.
Durham’s innings began badly with Keaton Jennings run out by a direct hit from midwicket in the first over and Graham Clarke lbw going back to Wayne Madsen in the third.
Michael Richardson went for a duck in the fourth when Hardus Viljoen side-footed the ball into the stumps in his follow through and although Tom Latham twice pulled the South African for four, the Jets hopes of a substantial total were dented when he swung Matt Henry into the hands of deep midwicket in the last over of the powerplay.
Jack Burnham and Paul Coughlin added 38 before the Jets skipper was caught behind trying to pull Ben Cotton and the Falcons looked in control when Burnham was caught at third man in the 17th over.
But Poynter had already lofted Imran Tahir for six and he drove and pulled two more from Cotton in the 19th over to reach 50 from 28 balls.
A full toss from Henry was dispatched over deep point for his fourth six and when he late cut the last ball for four, 35 had come from the final two overs.
The Falcons lost Billy Godleman in the second over despite replays showing James Weighell was perilously close to a no ball and after Matt Critchley pulled Chris Rushworth for six, he miscued to midwicket to reduce the home side to 33 for 2 in the 5th over.
As one of the leading batsmen in the competition, Madsen’s wicket was key and he moved smoothly to 24 but then swung Ryan Pringle to wide long on.
Reece, badly dropped at deep cover on 21, pulled Jennings for six but the Jets were building pressure which told when Alex Hughes top edged a pull in the 15th over.
Reece took two fours from Weighell as 16 came from the 16th over, Henry pulled Usman Arshad for six, and although wickets fell in the closing overs, they had done enough.