Watching Luis Reece dismantle Lancashire’s bowlers on Tuesday night, it was hard to believe that he is a relative novice in T20 cricket.
Perhaps his former team mates thought the same thing as Reece cruised to a competition-best unbeaten 97 from 55 balls to put Derbyshire Falcons on course for an impressive victory that has set them up for two home games in 48 hours starting with Northants on Friday evening before Leicestershire visit the County Ground on Sunday afternoon.
Before this season, Reece had played only a handful of matches but the faith shown in him by coach John Wright and captain Gary Wilson has quickly been repaid.
He led a successful run chase in the opening game at Northampton with his first half-century and the way he struck the ball from the start against Lancashire highlighted how quickly he is learning.
“I’ve not played many games,” the 26-year-old said. “I played four last year so I’ve not played a great deal.
“I carried the drinks for a lot of my time at Lancashire and thankfully Derbyshire have given me a chance to express myself.
“To be fair it’s been a bit of learning on the job because when you don’t get that much exposure to playing you never really know how you are going to go until you get an opportunity.
“I’ve felt in great nick all year, but it’s been a bit of a disjointed one for me, with injuries and illness so it’s been nice to get a run of games together and have the freedom to play how I want to play T20 cricket.
“Wrighty and Gary Wilson have been outstanding with me, they’ve spent a lot of time chatting and giving me confidence and letting me express myself.
“They identify key areas you have to work on but they highlight your strengths and Wrighty is such a positive person, he works incredibly hard with the boys and gives you that little bit of a lift.
“Some players like myself can be a bit hard on ourselves and quite critical but he’s quick to come over and shine a light and say ‘actually, you’re playing really well’ and the boys respond to that. You feel the captain and the coach have got some confidence in you,
“I’ve been lucky enough to get that opportunity and so far, so good , I’ve put in a couple of decent performances and I’m hoping this is just the start of things to come for both me and the team. “
Although the North Group is fiercely competitive, Derbyshire are well placed to qualify for the quarter-finals with four victories from the first seven games.
“We’re halfway through the tournament now and we’ve probably got half the amount of wins we need to qualify so this week is quite big for us,” Reece said.
“If we can get a couple of wins from these home games that will set us up quite nicely but we’ve got to keep improving because we know we can tighten up in a few areas.”