Lancashire Lightning 183 for 6 (Wells 66) beat Derbyshire Falcons 179 for 5 (Madsen 50, Wood 3-31) by four wickets
Lancashire Lightning beat Derbyshire Falcons by four wickets to start the 2023 Vitality Blast campaign as they aim to end it - with victory at Edgbaston.
The Blast will conclude in Birmingham with Finals Day on July 15 and Lightning took an impressive first step towards that showpiece with a win in the first half of the inaugural Blast Off opener in the Second City sunshine.
The Falcons' 179 for 5, underpinned by Wayne Madsen
's classy 50 from 35 balls, was solid but no more than par on a good batting pitch.
Lightning then reached 183 for 6 with four balls to spare after Luke Wells
laid the foundation with a violent 66 off 35 balls, his maiden T20 half-century.
After the Falcons were put in, Luke Wood
began with a wide but his second ball was straight enough to win an lbw decision against Haider Ali. Madsen was soon motoring to his 25th T20 half-century though, supported by a sprinkling of lively, if fleeting, cameos.
Second-wicket pair Luis Reece (23 off 21) and Madsen added 64 in 48 balls before the former fell lbw to Tom Hartley. Madsen struck four sixes on his way to a 34-ball fifty but perished next ball when he lifted Danny Lamb to Hartley at deep midwicket.
Leus du Plooy clubbed three sixes in a 16-ball 33 then fell in pursuit of another when he holed out to Wood. Anuj Dal and Aneurin Donald connected with a blow or two and, after Mattie McKiernan clouted Tom Bailey for a last-over six, only the openers had failed to clear the ropes. The suspicion was, however, that it was a 200-pitch and the Falcons were a few short - and so it proved.
Even without star batters Keaton Jennings (injured) and Phil Salt, Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler (IPL-duty) Lightning reeled in their target.
They started briskly as Pakistan quick Zaman Khan suffered a bracing welcome to the Blast. His first ball was hoisted far over long leg for six by Wells in an over that went for 18. Zak Chappell's opening over then went for 15 as the Lightning thundered to 44 in three overs.
Opening pair Wells and George Bell added 59 from 26 balls before the latter spliced Khan to mid on. Steven Croft was run out after finding himself at the same end as Wells but the opener thrashed a 24-ball fifty and left his side very strongly placed, needing 68 from ten overs, when he fell in familiar Blast fashion, caught in the leg-side deep.
Daryl Mitchell's cleanly-hit 31 off 19 balls kept Lightning's foot on the Falcons' throat and victory was closed out with more comfort than a last-over finish suggests.