Billy Godleman’s second half century of this season’s NatWest T20 Blast helped Derbyshire Falcons to the top of the North Group with a five-wicket win over fellow challengers Yorkshire at Headingley.
Godleman led the pursuit of 181 as the Falcons secured the double over the Vikings having beaten them at Chesterfield last month, gaining 10 off the last over with two balls to spare.
The left-handed opener hit 67 off 48 balls after Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed’s 42 off 31 in Yorkshire’s 180 for five on a slowish pitch.
The Falcons are one of only two sides never to have reached Finals Day alongside Worcestershire, while their only other quarter-final appearance came in 2005.
Having leapfrogged Birmingham on 13 points from eleven matches due to a better net run-rate, they are well placed to rectify those statistics.
Yorkshire are still on course for qualification on eleven points, but this was their first Blast defeat in eleven matches at Headingley dating back to last year.
Yorkshire’s innings lacked the fireworks of previous efforts, with them posting over 220 three times this season. But the Headingley pitch certainly wasn’t as quick as it has been.
They reached 54 for one after six overs of power play having elected to bat, losing Tom Kohler-Cadmore for a brisk 29 with two leg-side sixes.
David Willey and Adam Lyth, who hit 34, fell in the space of four balls in the ninth and tenth overs to spinners Wayne Madsen and Imran Tahir, leaving the score at 81 for three.
Madsen was the pick of the Falcons bowlers with one for 29 from his four overs and later hit a crucial 47 with the bat.
Sarfaraz and Shaun Marsh (31 not out) shared 67 inside nine overs for the fourth wicket, with the debutant pulling two sixes off Alex Hughes and lofting Tahir over cover.
Hardus Viljoen struck twice in four balls in the 18th, bowling Sarfaraz as he looked to give himself room to slash over cover and Jack Leaning to leave the score 154 for five.
New Zealand seamer Matt Henry bowled three wides on the bounce in the penultimate over before Tim Bresnan smashed a six and a four off Viljoen in the last.
Marsh later did not field due to concussion having been hit by a Henry slower ball bouncer whilst batting.
Falcons debutant Tom Wood skied Bresnan to mid-wicket in the fourth over of the chase before Luis Reece was caught at short third-man trying to scoop Steve Patterson as the score fell to 46 for two in the sixth.
With rain coming and going, all eyes were on the Duckworth Lewis Stern, but the Falcons kept their noses in front thanks to Godleman.
He reached his latest half-century off 33 balls in the tenth over, by which stage the score had reached 83 for two.
Godleman top-edged one of three sixes over third-man, but in the main he struck the ball sweetly and found an aide in in-form Madsen, the competition’s leading run-scorer with 402.
They shared 77 inside eight overs for the third wicket before Godleman was caught behind off Willey as the score fell to 123 for three in the 14th.
Patterson and Adil Rashid tightened things up as the target became 49 off five overs and 33 off three, with Madsen now joined by Gary Wilson.
Madsen and Henry fell to Patterson in the 19th before Alex Hughes, with 10 needed off the last, hit the first ball from Bresnan for six before captain Wilson hit the winning runs.