Northamptonshire 167 for 4 (Willey 60) beat Derbyshire 166 for 7 (Durston 77) by six wickets

Northamptonshire claimed their opening win of the Natwest T20 Blast campaign with a comfortable six-wicket win over Derbyshire at Wantage Road.

David Willey was the star of the North Group contest after being released from England's national team's one-day squad, hitting an impressive 60 off 27 balls and two wickets as the Steelbacks overhauled the visitors' 166 for seven with 13 balls to spare.

After losing the toss and bowling first, the home side were encouraged in Willey's opening over when Derbyshire's Sri Lankan star Tillekaratne Dilshan tried his scoop shot - only to see middle and leg stump knocked back. It was the Sri Lankan's final innings before a stint in the Caribbean Premier League.

The next four overs yielded 27 runs, with Wes Durston providing most of the momentum. But Chesney Hughes wafted at Steven Crook's first ball outside the off stump and edged to Ben Duckett which was immediately followed by Wayne Madsen being trapped lbw first ball.

That left Derbyshire 37 for 3 but Scott Elstone helped Durston put on 52 for the fourth wicket, with a slog sweep just over midwicket off Shahid Afridi his highlight.

As the Falcons tried to up the tempo, Shiv Thakor was run out for 15 when going for a third, although third umpire Mark Benson had to check whether Willey had touched the rope in preventing a boundary before effecting the dismissal.

Tom Poynton bludgeoned two sixes off the final over but Durston was left largely alone to keep the attack going. He carried his bat for 77 off 63 balls, with his half-century coming off 41.

Northamptonshire lost Richard Levi in the first over, clipping Thakor to Wayne Madsen inside the circle at backward square leg - and Derbyshire sensed they were in the game.

But Willey decided to up the rate in exciting fashion, taking 24 off the fourth over - bowled by Dilshan from the Turner Stand End. Two sixes sailed over long-off, followed by a cover drive for four, with the over completed with another huge six down the ground.

Willey - who reached his 50 off 21 balls was caught gleefully by Madsen off Palladino - but Afridi picked up where he left off, continuing the frenetic pace.

Surviving a tight stumping appeal off Hughes, the Pakistani globetrotter added 34 off 17 before Billy Godleman's footwork in front of the boundary rope allowed a stunning catch for Thakor's second wicket.

However, Alex Wakely and Steven Crook saw the hosts home, giving them their first win in 2015 and consigning Derbyshire to a fourth defeat in five.