Derbyshire 162 for 3 (Madsen 69, Godleman 57) beat Lancashire 151 for 9 (Livingstone 58, Rampaul 3-19) by 11 runs
Perhaps it was the gorgeous Bank Holiday weather; maybe it was the opportunity to see a Lancashire side which is excellent T20 form at present; quite possibly it was what we shall soon have to call "the Stokes effect". But whatever the cause or combination of causes 14,752 spectators turned up at Old Trafford this Monday afternoon, most of them hoping to see the home side clinch top spot in the North Group of the Vitality Blast.
And as is so often cricket's endearing way, Lancashire's record crowd for a non-Roses T20 match saw Derbyshire secure their place in the last eight with a thoroughly deserved 11-run victory. There is therefore still a chance that the county coached this season by Dominic Cork will qualify for their first Finals' Day, although they will certainly be away in the quarter-finals.
One doubts that prospect will daunt Billy Godleman's team. Lancashire have been arguably the most powerful team in this year's Blast but Derbyshire gave as good as they received. First they posted a competitive 162 for 3 and then they defended that total with a fielding display which was far from faultless but was still competent in the later overs when it mattered. When Lancashire needed 75 off eight overs and Liam Livingstone was going well, the odds were on a home win but Livingstone was caught at the wicket by Daryn Smit for 58 as he attempted to cut Alex Hughes and none of the succeeding batsmen could stay long enough to see their side home.
The run out of Dane Vilas for 19 off the first ball of the 18th over when 28 runs were still needed was clearly crucial. The result was more or less decided by the start of the last over but Ravi Rampaul picked up the wicket of Liam Hurt with the final ball of the match and added it to those of Steven Croft and Josh Bohannon, whom he had dismissed with successive deliveries in the early exchanges.
Derbyshire's victory was all the more impressive given that their total looked no better than par on wicket which played well, albeit it was a used pitch. Indeed, having been 96 for 1 after 12 overs and 112 without further loss after 14, Derbyshire may have expected more than their eventual 162 but their limited progress can partly be explained by the fact that three of those later overs were bowled by James Faulkner.
The problem for Derbyshire was that they lost their two main scorers within six balls of each other at a crucial point in their innings. Having made 69 off 39 balls, a tally that included three leg-side sixes, Wayne Madsen was caught by Danny Lamb off Glenn Maxwell when attempting a paddle sweep. Five balls later Godleman, the country's leading scorer in white-ball cricket this season, hit Matt Parkinson straight to Livingstone at long-off and departed for 57. The later batsmen found it difficult to accelerate but Cork's Derbyshire are a hard-working team and will be a match for anyone their meet in the last eight.
Nor did the home supporters seem particularly disappointed by what is only Lancashire's second defeat in the Blast this season. The good humour and general bonhomie following the Headingley Test was very clear across the Pennines this afternoon and was shown at its most trivial when a bloke on a sofa in the Thomas Cook attempted to catch one of Livingstone's sixes and not only failed to do so but also fell backwards with the furniture toppling over on top of him. How everybody roared.
More seriously there was a mood that cricket was a game which had even more reason to be proud of itself after the third Ashes Test. "Stand up if you love Ben Stokes," sang the crowd for no more reason than that they wished to do so. The next Test begins here a week on Wednesday and it is all but certain that the country's new hero will receive a standing ovation when he walks out to bat in England's first innings. This thing will run and run.
The quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast are due to be played during the Manchester Test, so although Lancashire have qualified for a home game, they will travel to Stokes' home patch up at Chester-le-Street. Derbyshire, on the other hand, have won their last three Blast games and do not mind where they go next as long as their journey ends at Edgbaston on September 21, preferably late in the evening and with a trophy in Godleman's hands.