Franklin stars as Gloucs cruise
James Franklin’s maiden one-day century inspired Gloucestershire to a 51-run win over Derbyshire in their opening Clydesdale Bank 40 Group B fixture at Bristol.
The New Zealand all-rounder responded to his new position as opener by hitting an unbeaten 133 off 121 balls, with 10 fours and three straight sixes, as his side ran up 230 for five after losing the toss.
Alex Gidman and Chris Taylor, with 35 and 32 respectively, offered good support, but Steve Kirby undermined Derbyshire’s by taking two early wickets.
He finished with 3-44 and, despite 37 from Chris Rogers and John Sadler’s 41, the visitors were bowled out for 179 with 4.3 overs unused.
It was an important win for Gloucestershire, who were beaten at home in their first two LV= County Championship games of the season.
Batting frailty in those matches led to the experiment of promoting Franklin up the order and he responded with a superbly-paced innings.
Overcoming the early loss of Jonathan Batty and Hamish Marshall, the elegant left-hander added 89 in 17 overs with Gidman and 70 in 10 overs with Taylor.
Franklin owed his hundred to Taylor’s quick thinking. On 95 he would have been run out had his partner not sacrificed himself by crossing before bowler Tom Lungley’s throw hit the stumps.
The Kiwi reached three figures off 104 balls shortly afterwards. Surprisingly for an international player of his pedigree, it was the first time he had done so in any one-day competition at home or in England.
Tim Groenewald was the pick of the Derbyshire attack, conceding just 37 runs from eight overs.
After Kirby’s double strike, Rogers and Greg Smith put on 47 in 11 overs for the Falcons’ third wicket before Smith was caught at the second attempt by wicketkeeper Batty off Gidman for 28.
There was still hope for Derbyshire at 103 for three, but Garry Park carelessly swung off-spinner Taylor’s first ball of the game straight to Steve Snell at deep midwicket.
The key wicket of Rogers followed when he skied Franklin to Batty, and, although Sadler ensured their total would reach respectability, it was always in a losing cause.
He became Kirby’s third victim when he was last man out, while Anthony Ireland and Taylor claimed two wickets each.