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Falcons finally find winning formula

Derbyshire Falcons broke their NatWest T20 Blast duck in spectacular fashion when they chased down a target of 190 to beat Birmingham Bears by three wickets with six balls to spare under the floodlights at the 3aaa County Ground.

Will Porterfield made 74 from 41 balls and Jonathon Webb made 50 from 33 as Birmingham reached 189 for five, but Wes Durston put the home side on course with 53 off 21 deliveries.

England paceman Boyd Rankin was hit for five sixes in three overs, which cost 52 runs, as Wayne Madsen, 42 from 27 balls, and Alex Hughes, with 24 from 10, helped the hosts towards victory.

Porterfield launched the Bears’ innings with two fours off the first three balls from Durston and, although Tony Palladino and Mark Turner conceded only five off the next two overs, the run-flow turned into a torrent with 36 coming from 10 balls.

Varun Chopra flicked Mark Higginbottom over midwicket for six before Porterfield launched into Turner, sweeping him behind square for six and cutting him twice for four from an over that cost 20 runs.

Porterfield swatted Palladino over the rope at long-on for six as 66 came from the first six overs and a reverse-sweep off Marcus North took him to 50, which came off only 27 balls and contained seven fours and two sixes.

The Bears were 99 without loss at the halfway point but in the next over Chopra drove Durston to midwicket and Porterfield's vibrant innings ended when he sliced Higginbottom to deep backward point in the 14th over.

The run-rate dipped briefly before Webb pulled Higginbottom for six and Shoaib Malik drove David Wainwright into the sightscreen for another maximum.

The Pakistan all-rounder pulled Turner over the wide long-on boundary as the fifty stand came off 28 balls.

Webb completed a 31-ball half-century but three run-outs in the last over, which cost only four runs, kept Warwickshire below 200.

Derbyshire's reply began in the worst way possible when Chesney Hughes got a leading edge to cover point off the first ball.

Durston responded by cutting Chris Wright over point for six as 17 came from the fourth over but Chris Woakes struck with his first ball when Gareth Cross carved him to third man.

Rankin's first set of six was treated with disdain by Durston, who cut him for two maximums and a pair of fours.

He reached 50 off only 20 balls when he hoisted Malik for his fourth six before falling to a diving catch by Porterfield at wide long-on.

Durston gave  Derbyshire a chance but Jeetan Patel took a brilliant, one-handed, diving, return catch to dismiss the dangerous North and, after 10 overs, the home side were 95 for four.

Madsen rose to the challenge by lifting Malik for six and pulling Woakes to the midwicket boundary to leave the Falcons needing 55 from seven overs.

Rankin returned to beat Madsen's drive and had Scott Elstone caught at deep point, but Hughes pulled him for two sixes in his next over, which cost 21, to leave Derbyshire wanting only 16 off four overs.

Hughes was bowled by Woakes, but Palladino and Wainwright completed a memorable victory with an over to spare as Birmingham were beaten for the second game running.

Visiting director of cricket Dougie Brown, whose side slipped from third to fourth in the North Group, said: "I thought we were really sloppy in the field, our bowling plans were average and we didn't deliver the plans we had spoken about.

"To get 189 we played pretty well; we had an opportunity to kill the game in the powerplay and we didn't. It's hard to accept when we know Durston is a good cutter and we dish up balls that are short and wide and he cuts them to the short boundary."

Jonathan Trott was left out having played in the previous two Blast games, but Brown explained: "He's going to come into the team's plans for Sunday in the championship and we feel he would be better concentrating on his red-ball skills. Jonathan Webb replaced him and played exceptionally well so I think the decision for him not to play was fine."

Derbyshire's elite performance director Graeme Welch said: "Warwickshire are up there in the table, a good team with a lot of internationals and the way the boys played tonight I'm really proud of them.

"We put in an all-round performance with bat and ball and we were cool at the end. I'm really happy for the lads because it's been a difficult year up to now but hopefully this kicks us on and gives us a little bit of belief."

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