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Guptill leaves unbeaten Rapids clear at the top

Martin Guptill drills down the ground AFP

Worcestershire 136 for 4 (Guptill 65) beat Derbyshire 135 for 9 (Pennington 2-22) by six wickets
Scorecard

Martin Guptill marked his return to Derby by steering the Worcestershire Rapids to a third consecutive victory in the Vitality T20 Blast by six wickets as the Derbyshire Falcons suffered a second defeat in three days.

The former Derbyshire opener adjusted to a slow pitch with a run a ball 65 as the Rapids overhauled the Falcons' 135 for 9 in the 19th over.

Guptill said: "Anytime you go three from three in a T20 competition which can be quite fickle is a great start so it's onwards and upwards."

England Under 19 fast bowler Dillon Pennington impressed on his T20 debut with figures of 2 for 22 in four overs and although Anuj Dal made 35 from 26 balls on his first Falcons appearance, the home side were at least 20 runs short of a challenging total.

The Falcons had started well with Ben Slater and Matt Critchley taking three boundaries from the second over by Patrick Brown but Pennington left his mark on the top order by taking two wickets in his second over.

After Critchley top edged a pull at Luke Wood, Calum MacLeod moved across his stumps to try and ramp Pennington but only succeeded in lobbing a catch to backward square.

The young fast bowler then beat Wayne Madsen for pace as he tried to pull and when Slater was stumped coming down the pitch to Brett D'Oliveira, the Falcons had slumped to 55 for 4.

When Alex Hughes went the same way trying to drive Daryl Mitchell, the Falcons were unravelling but Dal showed good shot selection and composure to add 51 with skipper Gary Wilson.

He flipped Wood over the wicketkeeper for six and drove him through extra cover for four but the Rapids regained control after Wilson was caught behind driving at Brown.

Daryn Smith missed a reverse sweep, Wahab Riaz skied a drive and Dal was run out going for a second in the final over to leave the Rapids a modest target of 136.

Clarke pulled Madsen for two sixes in the first over but he miscued a drive at Ravi Rampaul to mid off in the third and Callum Ferguson was bowled by one that nipped back from Lockie Ferguson in the fourth.

The Falcons were making a good fist of trying to defend a small total but Guptill released some pressure by pulling Critchley into the car park before driving the leg-spinner over the long on boundary in his next over.

Guptill pulled Hughes for a third six and after completing 50 from 52 balls, he drove Ferguson straight for his first four but Rampaul struck again when Mitchell chipped him to deep midwicket at the start of the 15th over.

Guptill sliced Ferguson to deep cover in the 18th over but another former Derbyshire player Ross Whiteley sealed victory in style with a six off Critchley.