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Dighton returns to haunt Derbyshire

Michael Dighton

Michael Dighton hit a superbly-paced unbeaten 110 to propel the Netherlands to their first victory over a county side on English soil

Michael Dighton celebrated his return to Derby with a match-winning century that gave the Netherlands their first victory in the Clydesdale Bank 40.

The 34-year-old Australian scored a superb unbeaten 110 from 106 balls against the county for whom he played three years ago as the Dutch chased down a target of 207 on a sluggish pitch to clinch a seven-wicket win with four balls to spare.

It condemned Derbyshire to their fourth defeat in Group B despite 73 from 91 balls by skipper Chris Rogers. No other batsman reached 30 for the home side.

The game was in the balance when the Netherlands needed 76 from the last 10 overs, but Dighton and former Sussex batsman Bas Zuiderent kept their nerves to seal a notable victory with an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 127 in 17 overs.

The Netherlands started well after putting Derbyshire in, with Mark Jonkman yorking Chesney Hughes in the second over.

When Robin Peterson was caught behind down the leg side off Jonkman, the home side were 33 for two, but Rogers once again proved to be the key wicket.

The left-hander seized on anything short or over-pitched to reach 50 from 63 balls, while none of the other batsmen could come to terms with the conditions.

Wes Durston flickered briefly on his debut, depositing Pietar Seelaar over wide long-on and into the car park, but the left-arm spinner emerged with credit to finish with 3-39 runs from seven overs.

When Rogers skied a pull to point, Derbyshire were in danger of falling away and went into the last 10 overs with a lot to do on 149 for six.

John Sadler drove Mudassar Bukhari over long-off for six but clipped the next ball into the hands of midwicket, and it needed some powerful blows from Steffan Jones to take Derbyshire past 200.

He hit 22 off 14 balls and was out to the last ball of the innings, caught at long-on off Seelaar.

The Netherlands scored only 40 from the first 10 overs but Dighton made sure they never lost touch by pacing his innings well to reach his third fifty in the competition off 56 balls.

Although he and Zuiderent did not hit a boundary for nine overs, they worked the ball around to chip away at the target, which was reduced further when Jones conceded four wides down the leg side.

Dighton, whose highest score for Derbyshire was 68, reached his hundred off 103 balls and celebrated by driving Tom Lungley over long-on in the penultimate over, his second six.

Fittingly, Dighton the winning runs by driving Garry Park through cover for his ninth four to give the Netherlands only their second victory over a county side and their first in England.