Hashim Amla ended his brief stint with Derbyshire on a winning note as his half-century helped the Falcons beat Lancashire Lightning by five wickets in the NatWest T20 Blast game at the 3aaa County Ground.
The South African Test captain scored 51 off 37 balls and shared Derbyshire’s highest T20 opening stand against Lancashire of 93 with Tillakaratne Dilshan who made 38 from 33 balls on his first appearance for the county as the home side easily chased down a target of 128 to claim their first North Group win.
Alex Davies made 41 from 26 balls but the Lightning could only manage 127 for 9 against disciplined seam bowling with former Lancashire paceman Wayne White taking 3-21 in his first game of the season
Derbyshire’s decision to bowl first was quickly rewarded when Ben Cotton claimed two wickets including Ashwell Prince who had scored a double century against them in the championship match at Southport
Liam Livingstone was bowled off an inside edge in the third over and after Karl Brown played over one from Wayne White, Prince missed a cross-batted swipe at Cotton.
Only two boundaries came from the bat in the first nine overs and Steven Croft’s attempt to work Dilshan off his legs landed in the hands of skipper Wes Durston at short midwicket.
The Lightning needed Australian all-rounder James Faulkner to fire but he made only seven before he played across the line at Tony Palladino and although Alex Davies drove Dilshan for the first boundary for 55 balls, Paul Horton struggled for 28 balls for 20 before he was caught at long leg.
Jordan Clark sliced a drive to deep cover and Aaron Lilley edged a cut behind at White and although Davies cut and drove fours in the closing overs, Lancashire’s total looked at least 20 runs short.
It certainly appeared that way when Amla cut the first ball of the Falcons reply for four and then cut and glanced Faulkner for boundaries in the second over.
He pulled Clark for four and six in the fourth over and Derbyshire’s 50 came up in the next with Dilshan top edging Faulkner for six and driving him for two fours.
The game was racing away from Lancashire when Dilshan took two more fours from the first three balls from Stephen Parry as the Falcons plundered 64 from the opening six overs.
Amla drove Clark imperiously past mid off for four and then flicked him for a one handed six over long leg to reach 50 before he was bowled trying to sweep the next ball.
Tom Poynton swung Faulkner to deep square leg and although Dilshan was run out by a direct hit by Aaron Lilley and Durston pulled Clark to mid on, Derbyshire had 14 balls to spare when Shiv Thakor hit the winning runs.