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Derbyshire Falcons slumped to their fourth defeat in four matches, courtesy Lancashire Lightning. With six points in four matches, Lancashire are the second team from the top in the points table. They'll be taking on Leicestershire in their next game who have just one win behind them in an equal number of matches. They are in the middle of the points table and a win here will put both teams neck-and-neck as far as points table is concerned. A win for Lancashire, on the other hand, will put them at the top of the table separated from Worcestershire only by net run rate.
After a poorly executed chase against Nottinghamshire, Leics batted first against the Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston Cricket Ground and pummeled them with a difference of 100 runs.
They got off to a start they were after as Cameron Delport and Neil Dexter continued with their impressive display to stitch a quick-fire 42 run partnership. Neil Dexter departed quickly thereafter, but little did the Bears know that their joy would be shortlived. Ben Raine announced his arrival at the crease with shots all around the ground and reached his 100 in just 41 deliveries. Mark Cosgrove watched him from the other end as he smashed the ball to all parts of the ground. Cosgrove contributed with a well-made 42.
Just like their batting, their bowling too was all about Ben Raine. Raine took two important wickets in his first over to leave Birmingham Bears at three down for 36. Callum Parkinson spun his web of spin as he dismissed four Bears' batsmen in his three overs. Overall, their bowlers were impressive and while Ben Raine laid the foundation of their win, the brilliant effort by their spinners sealed the deal.
C Delport, Neil Dexter, Mark Cosgrove, Colin Ackermann, Mohammad Nabi, Ben Raine, Ned Eckersley, Tom Wells, Zak Chappell, Callum Parkinson, Mohammad Abbas.
Lancashire continued to build on to their solid run in the tournament as they smashed Derbyshire Falcons by 12 runs. Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Lancashire got to a total of 157 which appeared to be around 15-20 runs short on that surface. Had it not been a quickfire 44 runs knock from their skipper, the Lightning would have struggled to score even 150 runs.
Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone added 68 runs in the powerplay. Lancashire, however, soon lost the track, but quick wickets by Wahab Riaz, Mitchell Critchley, and Alex Hughes reduced their scoring rate drastically. Jordan Clark's lusty hits during the fag end of their innings pushed their total past the 150-run mark which proved to be just enough for the day.
On the same surface, England lost to India defending a similar sort of total and that would have induced some fear in the Lancashire's dressing room. They needed early wickets and Toby Lester did not disappoint. He got rid of Ben Slater in the first over and then dismissed Derbyshire's pinch-hitter, Wahab Riaz. The middle overs were rather uneventful with Macleod and Madsen struggling to find the momentum. Needing to defend 18 runs in the final over, the onus was once again on Toby Lester which he completed gracefully. He gave away just seven runs to take his team to yet another victory.
Alex Davies, Liam Livingstone, Arron Lilley, KK Jennings, DJ Vilas, Jordan Clark, Steven Croft, James Faulkner, Matt Parkinson, Toby Lester, Graham Onions.
Leicestershire learns the lessons from their loss against the Notts and played with purpose and responsibility against the Bears. It was the brilliance of Ben Raine assisted beautifully by the likes of Callum Parkinson, Mark Cosgrove, and Mohammad Nabi. Playing in front of the home crowd on a familiar ground should be advantageous for them. With their batting in terrific form and excellent battery of spin bowlers, Leicestershire are better placed to win this upcoming encounter.