Croft and Brown dominate Derbyshire
Karl Brown and Steven Croft fired Lancashire Lightning to their second Natwest T20 Blast win of the campaign with a blistering, unbeaten partnership of 131 against Derbyshire Falcons at 3aaa County Ground.
Derbyshire had the Red Rose reeling on 38 for three, but Brown and Croft then got to work and steered them to a final total of 169 with individual scores of 67 and 76 respectively, which was enough to secure a 20-run victory as the hosts fell short on 149 for five.
Rain delayed the start of the match, which was reduced to 19 overs per side. When the weather brightened up, the hosts elected to bowl, with their attack wasting no time in dismissing Lancashire's openers.
Alex Davies fell for a second-ball duck after he was caught superbly by Tim Groenewald off Wes Durston, before Tom Smith's attempted pull looped high off the bat to Chesney Hughes in the third over to leave the Lightning 22 for two.
Tony Palladino dealt a blow to Lancashire by trapping skipper Paul Horton in front for seven as he claimed his first T20 wicket since 2010.
But Brown and Croft steadied the ship before flipping the game on its head with their 131-run alliance.
Derbyshire were unable to shift either, meaning the home team needed 170 runs for their first victory of the season in all formats.
Having notched that exact total in their defeat to Leicestershire Foxes last week, the Falcons knew the win was attainable and they moved to 31 without loss after five overs.
But Hughes and Stephen Moore's opening partnership was brought to an end eight runs later when Hughes mistimed a pull off Kabir Ali and Horton pouched at mid-on.
Lancashire made telling breakthroughs halfway through Derbyshire's innings, claiming the wickets of Moore for 40, who fell victim to a run out mix-up, and fellow Red Rose old boy Marcus North .
The Australian fell caught behind to Smith for 26 to leave the Falcons 88 for three.
By the time Durston was bowled for five by Kabir things were starting to look tough for Derbyshire, with them needing 57 runs in less than four overs.
Kabir claimed his third wicket to all but seal victory for Lancashire when Wayne Madsen fell on 29 to make it 136 for five with eight balls remaining, meaning Scott Elstone’s defiant 24 not out was in vain.