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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Amla shows the way with effortless timing

Derbyshire 128 for 5 (Amla 51) beat Lancashire 127 for 9 (Davies 41, White 3-21)
Scorecard

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo's weekly video show, The Blast, Hashim Amla revealed that "he doesn't really watch films" but if he had to choose a favourite it would be the award winning 2002 film A Beautiful Mind. It's the kind of cultured answer that might be surprising from many of today's battery-farmed cricketers, but not Amla. Calm, considered and laid-back Amla is as much a Buddha of Batting, a true master of his craft, as he is a cricketer.

It is perhaps unfair to compare county cricketers to Amla, such is his class and experience, but his innings of 51 from 37 balls illustrated exactly where Lancashire went wrong on their way to a five-wicket defeat against Derbyshire. Chasing just 128 to win Amla played with trademark serenity to guide Derbyshire to a comfortable victory.

Using his crease expertly Amla, stayed calm and composed, manipulating the ball and the field with cold-hearted precision. Forcing bowlers to adjust their lines and lengths it was him, not them, dictating play and when he was dismissed with the score 93 for 1 his job was done and the match was as good as won.

The win was initiated not by Amla though, but by events of the first innings when a combination of excellent Derbyshire bowling and poor, reckless Lancashire batting produced a below-par total of 127 for 9 that never looked like troubling a Derbyshire batting order front-loaded with Amla and Tillakaratne Dilshan.

While it would be wrong to simply credit Derbyshire's bowlers for Lancashire's total it was a bad batting performance set in motion by the bowling side, not as can be the case, the other way around.

Lancashire were perhaps a tad unfortunate to lose Liam Livingstone in the second over when he chopped a back of a length ball from Ben Cotton onto his stumps but the following 23 balls of the Powerplay yielding just 18 runs and two wickets was to Derbyshire's credit as much as Lancashire's discredit.

Shiv Thakor, Wayne White, against his former team-mates, and Cotton bowled extremely disciplined lines and canny lengths to frustrate the Lancashire batsmen into mistakes. Having faced seven dot balls in nine deliveries, Karl Brown was clearly agitated and attempted to guide a full, straight ball from White through short third man and only succeeded in being bowled.

Ashwell Prince had faced just one delivery in two overs when he was bowled heaving at a ball from Cotton. Prince thrashing his bat in the air in frustration - the antithesis of Amla later on - embodied a beaten mind. Lancashire ended the Powerplay 30 for 3.

Lancashire's captain Steven Croft, talking after the match suggested his side lost the match in the first few overs. "We probably didn't have that intent early on and we didn't get anything going after that."

Not one Lancashire partnership lasted more than 21 balls and only three managed a run-rate of above six runs per over. Croft himself was the fourth man to be dismissed when he was caught off the bowling of Dilshan looking to force the pace in the ninth over. Lancashire's new overseas signing James Faulkner, renowned for his finishing abilities, will certainly hope to come to the crease in stronger positions in future, and he lasted just nine balls before he was dismissed by Tony Palladino, who finished with figures of 2 for 22 from his four overs.

A sprightly 41 from 20-year old Alex Davies from just 26 balls proved that there were no demons in the pitch and hauled Lancashire to a more respectable, albeit still considerably under-par total. Derbyshire used just five bowlers, none of whom conceded more than 7.25 runs-per-over and two of whom conceded less than six.

Knowing what they needed to chase made Derbyshire's innings considerably easier, but Lancashire could learn a lot from the way Amla and Dilshan scored at a good rate but without haste. They displayed no sense of urgency or panic as they took 64 from the Powerplay with minimal fuss. Lancashire's bowling quickly deteriorated and the late flurry of wickets that saw Derbyshire finish five down belies the nature of an almost effortless run-chase.

Derbyshire 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st93TM DilshanHM Amla
2nd5TM DilshanT Poynton
3rd1TM DilshanCF Hughes
4th13WJ DurstonCF Hughes
5th9CF HughesSL Elstone
6th7CF HughesSJ Thakor