Leyland’s Luis Reece left his mark on his former county with a T20 best unbeaten 97 from 55 balls as Derbyshire Falcons beat Lancashire Lightning by 35 runs in the NatWest Blast game at Derby.
Reece hit 10 fours and four sixes and with Daryn Smit who made 42 from 20 balls added 77 in seven overs to take the Falcons to an imposing 211 for 5.
Liam Livingstone threatened to chase that down by smashing five sixes in an 18 ball 44 and Karl Brown 41 but Lightning finished well short on 176 for 9. The visitors had elected to bowl first but Reece struck the ball cleanly from the start, driving Ryan McLaren straight for six and pulling him for four as 59 came from the first five overs.
Reece dispatched Jordan Clark over the midwicket boundary and drove Matt Parkinson for a third six before Stephen Parry removed the dangerous Wayne Madsen who missed a reverse sweep.
The Falcons were well placed at 103 for 3 at the halfway point of the innings and although Gary Wilson was stumped charging at Parry, Reece drove Parkinson for his fourth six after reaching 50.
Although Arron Lilley had Alex Hughes stumped in the 14th over, Lancashire’s bowlers could not exert any sustained pressure and Daryn Smit joined Reece to take the Falcons past 200. Both batsmen improvised well with Smit plundering three consecutive fours from Khan as 62 came from the last six overs.
Livingstone moved into overdrive from the off, pulling and cutting Matt Henry for three sixes and two fours and he clubbed Hardus Viljoen over the ropes at midwicket.
Imran Tahir was driven for a fifth six but Madsen’s off spin ended the onslaught when Livingstone skied a drive to Hughes at long on.
Karl Brown picked up the baton by pulling Madsen and Tahir for sixes before he played on to Matt Critchley and the leg-spinner sent Falcons hopes soaring in his next over when Jos Butler failed to clear long off.
Dane Vilas was run out when he was stranded at the same end as Lilley who kept the Lightning believing by driving Tahir for six but after Steven Croft drilled the South African high over the long off boundary, Henry returned to york him.
When Lilley drove Ben Cotton to cover in the next over, the Lightning were fading fast and the Falcons comfortably closed out the game.