Matt Critchley stars as Derbyshire Falcons get off to a winning start in Royal London One Day Cup against Northamptonshire Steelbacks

Matt Critchley hit a game-changing innings to help Derbyshire to victory.
Matt Critchley hit a game-changing innings to help Derbyshire to victory.

Matt Critchley played another match changing one-day innings to set up a 53 run victory for the Derbyshire Falcons over the Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the Royal London Cup match at Derby.

Critchley made an unbeaten 64 from 51 balls, his first List A 50 for Derbyshire, as the Falcons recovered from 137 for 5 to 268 for 6 with skipper Billy Godleman top scoring with 87.

Despite 50 from Luke Proctor, the Steelbacks never threatened to chase that down and Alex Hughes best List A figures 4 for 44 saw the visitors bowled out for 215 with 37 balls to spare, their second North Group defeat.

Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman said: "Although it was our choice to bat first we definitely didn't have the easy end of the conditions so to find a way to get a score on the board and then the way the guys bowled and fielded in the first 10 overs was what won us the game.

"I was finding it hard work out there but I did just have a feeling if we were able to post 250 or 260 and bowled well up front we would be well in the game so it worked out nicely."

The Falcons began badly when Luis Reece nicked the third ball of the innings but Wayne Madsen and Godleman took the score to 50 before two wickets in successive overs checked the scoring rate.

Wayne Madsen cut Jason Holder for consecutive fours before he edged Ben Sanderson and Hughes quickly followed when he was caught behind driving at the West Indian captain.

South African batsman Leus du Plooy impressed on his debut until he chopped Blessing Muzarabani into his stumps and when Tom Lace steered the Zimbabwe paceman into the hands of third man, the Falcons were in trouble.

But although Godleman struggled to time the ball, he anchored the innings while Critchley provided the momentum in a stand that added 84 in 13 overs.

Godleman whipped Nathan Buck over mid-wicket for the only six of the innings but played on to the next ball as he tried to run it to third man.

The Steelbacks had prevented the Falcons from getting away until the last over of the innings which cost 17 as Critchley moved around the crease to hit Sanderson for three fours.

Even so, the total looked below par but that changed as the Falcons blew away the top order in the first nine overs with Hughes taking two outstanding slip catches.

Josh Cobb edged a drive at Logan van Beek in the second over and the dangerous Richard Levi went in the next when he tried to run Ravi Rampaul and was snared by Hughes diving to his right at second slip.

Hughes swooped in front of first to remove Alex Wakeley and the Steelbacks were in disarray when Rob Newton was run out in a mix up over a second with Adam Rossington.

Hughes spilled another sharp chance when Rossington edged van Beek and that threatened to prove expensive when he drove the next two balls to the boundary.

Rossington pulled Reece just over the head of deep mid-wicket for six but Hughes struck in his first over when he found just enough away movement to bowl him for 21.

Any chance the Steelbacks had now rested with Holder but after hitting six fours in a 24 ball 30, he missed a big drive at Hughes and although Luke Proctor and Sanderson added 73, it only delayed the inevitable.