Whelan drives Worcestershire
Chris Whelan returned his best competition figures to set up an unlikely 15-run victory for Worcestershire against Derbyshire in the Friends Life t20 match under the Derby floodlights.
The 25-year-old seamer took 4-21 from four overs as the Falcons collapsed to 106 all out in the final over, chasing the Royals’ modest 121 for seven.
Derbyshire looked favourites after 17-year-old left-arm spinner Tom Knight exploited a slow, turning pitch to take three for four in 10 balls.
Worcestershire hit only eight boundaries in their 20 overs, but the hosts also struggled and crashed to 79 for eight before some defiant blows from Steffan Jones at least took them to three figures.
Jones had conceded five wides off successive balls in the opening over but Derbyshire quickly recovered to squeeze the life out of the innings.
Moeen Ali fell to a desperate swing after scoring four off 17 balls and, although Alexei Kervezee began briskly, he became Knight’s first victim when he sliced to short third man Jonathan Clare on 14.
The teenager stuck another big blow when Shakib Al Hasan top-edged a sweep to Wes Durston, and he snared his second victim of the over when he beat Vikram Solanki’s attempted cut on 28.
Worcestershire’s hopes of breaking the stranglehold took another knock when Gareth Andrew drove a return catch to Durston.
When James Cameron straight-drove Durston for six, it was the first boundary in 10 overs, but he was run out off the next ball for 17 and only some improvised shots by Ben Scott, who made 17 not out, took the total past 120.
But if the home crowd thought Derbyshire would coast to their modest target, they were in for a shock as the Falcons also found it hard to get the ball away.
Martin Guptill clipped Andrew to Kervezee at deep square-leg in the second over and Shakib found some sharp turn to bowl Durston for in the fifth.
When Wayne Madsen played back to Moeen and was trapped in front, Derbyshire were 27 for three, and Garry Park’s attempts to advance failed when his sweep off Moeen landed in the hands of Andrew at deep square.
Derbyshire were sliding to defeat when Luke Sutton was run out by Daryl Mitchell’s throw and Chesney Hughes edged behind to Scott off Whelan on 22.
Jones - run out by Mitchell on 24 - went down swinging, but it was a poor night for the home side in front of decent crowd and the television cameras.