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DU PLOOY'S HEROICS SECURES REMARKABLE WIN FOR DERBYSHIRE


Derbyshire Falcons recorded a remarkable Vitality Blast victory over Yorkshire Vikings on Saturday after a dramatic finale at Queens Park in Chesterfield.

With the Falcons requiring 19 runs off the final over in awful weather conditions, it looked as if the Vikings were finally going to put an end to their poor run of form at this venue. However, an inspired Leus du Plooy had other ideas and scored two sixes and a four in a jaw-dropping final over to secure a famous victory for Derbyshire over their rivals in front of a sell-out crowd.

The hosts won the toss and elected to bowl first but it looked as if Derbyshire's plan had backfired quickly with Yorkshire scoring at just over ten runs an over at the halfway stage of the innings. A very impressive knock of 77 from Harry Brook and a rapid 37 from 17 balls from New Zealander Finn Allen put the Vikings in a very strong position and an innings score of over 200 was certainly on the cards. Despite a tough opening spell for Derbyshire's bowlers, Scottish spinner Mark Watt shone and picked up a rare double wicket maiden in this format of the sport with his very first over. Watt would go on to finish with figures of 3-29 from his allotted four overs.

The Falcons bowled very strongly though in the final quarter of Yorkshire's innings and made huge strides in restricting their run rate. Remarkably, the Vikings only registered six runs from the last 11 deliveries of their innings and lost five wickets in that time to suddenly be all out for a total of 175. Pace bowler George Scrimshaw picked up three wickets in the final over to dismiss Yorkshire's tail-enders in a flash and was even on for a hat-trick at one stage.

Yorkshire will have been hugely disappointed with the last five overs of their innings and must have felt that a big opportunity to score over 200 runs and impose a huge target for their opposition had been missed. Indeed, their lack of runs and loss of many wickets at the death would come back to haunt them. With a much more attainable target of 176 to reach, the Falcons would have been confident that their recent good form would continue and carry them over the line.









However, the game would very quickly turn on its head as rain began to fall literally just as Derbyshire had opened their innings. After only two deliveries of Yorkshire's first over, the players were forced off the field as the heavens well and truly opened.

Frustratingly, the rain stopped and the process of removing the covers started only for the rain to return again on two separate occasions. It looked at one point that the game may even be abandoned with the match being declared a no result. Thankfully, the rain stopped again and held off this time for play to resume. With around 90 minutes lost, a full 20 overs was not possible for Derbyshire and a new revised target was set. Derbyshire now faced the tough task of reaching 105 off just ten overs and the Falcons had no choice but to bat extremely aggressively every single over.

Despite losing a couple of early wickets when opener Luis Reece was dismissed for 11 and Wayne Madsen was caught behind for a duck, the Falcons looked to be in a good position thanks to an excellent partnership between Shan Masood and Leus du Plooy. Both batsmen scored an array of fours and sixes to quickly reach a partnership of 50 runs and give themselves a fighting chance of securing a victory.

With four overs to go though, the rain returned to make things more difficult. Masood was caught out for 34 and wicketkeeper Brooke Guest was soon dismissed for a score of just three. In between those wickets, dot balls began to make a big dent in Derbyshire's run rate. With the score at 82-4 and the Falcons requiring 23 runs from eight balls, the crowd must have thought that Derbyshire's winning streak was about to come to an end.

To make matters more stressful, the rain started to get heavier. In any other circumstances, the players would have been forced off the field but with the end of the game so close, play continued.

With just one over remaining, Derbyshire faced the daunting task of needing to score 19 runs to win the match. Surely, a step too far? Not for Leus du Plooy.

The South African batsman was a man on a mission and produced some incredible shots to secure a dramatic victory at the death for the hosts. In the pouring rain, du Plooy struck an enormous six off the first ball from the final over. The next delivery was bowled for a wide which was then followed by a four after some poor Yorkshire fielding. Excellent communication between du Plooy and Mattie McKiernan saw Derbyshire score two runs from the next delivery. To Yorkshire's disbelief, Derbyshire now needed six from the final three balls. But only one more delivery was needed for du Plooy to achieve hero status. Du Plooy shimmied his feet slightly to the left to smash the ball miles over the boundary for a huge six. The South African's blistering innings of 48 not out from just 20 deliveries won the game for Derbyshire and the home fans were sent into raptures. Even a pitch invasion occurred, with many fans immediately running over to mob Leus du Plooy and congratulate him on a sensational match-winning performance.

This has to go down as one of the most entertaining Derbyshire matches in history at Queens Park. Saturday's victory means that Derbyshire Falcons have now won three Vitality Blast matches in a row and have also won four matches in a row in all competitions. Mickey Arthur's side are in fifth position in the Vitality Blast North Group and are now just one point behind fourth-placed Yorkshire Vikings with a game in hand on their rivals. As well as a victory which improves their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals, Derbyshire have now recorded five victories in a row over Yorkshire at Queens Park.

Derbyshire team: Masood (c), Reece, du Plooy, Madsen, Hughes, Guest (wk), McKiernan, Kerr, Watt, Conners, Scrimshaw.

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