CAREER-BEST Twenty20 figures by John Hastings knocked the stuffing out of woeful Derbyshire as Durham cruised to an eight-wicket home win in yesterday’s NatWest T20 Blast match.
Once the big Australian had bowled straight through his four overs at the start to take four for 26 the visitors provided modest fare for a crowd of 4,319 on a showery afternoon.
It took a sensible innings of 43 not out from Alex Hughes, a 22-year-old all-rounder from Staffordshire, to lift the total to 125 after they had slumped to 83 for eight in the 14th over.
Greg Cork, 19-year-old son of Dominic, helped to put on 32 in five overs on his senior debut before being brilliantly caught by Ben Stokes, running in from deep cover.
Cork, a left-arm seamer, had an unhappy time with the ball. Coming on for the fourth over, he succeeded in bowling Phil Mustard into form as Durham eased home with 6.4 overs to spare.
After scoring only one off the first nine balls he faced, Mustard had just turned Mark Turner behind square for four and his eyes seemed to light up when Cork came on.
The first ball was fiercely drilled straight down the ground, then two more fours were driven and one pulled before the last ball was deposited over the rope at longon.
After struggling in both forms of the game, there was suddenly no stopping Mustard. He had played and missed twice early on, but now everything flew out of the middle of the bat, apart from the edged four off Turner which took him to 50. The last 49 of those came off 16 balls.
Having scored ten of the first 11 runs, Mark Stoneman added only one before Mustard was bowled with the total on 68, trying to hit Turner over mid-wicket.
In the next over Stoneman was bowled trying to cut Wes Durston’s off spin, but with only 58 needed it was a simple task for Stokes and Calum MacLeod.
Stokes thrashed an unbeaten 49, finishing the match with his second and third sixes, lifted majestically over mid-wicket off the first two balls of a David Wainwright over.
After Red Hot Thursday and Superhero Friday, the Durham marketeers had dubbed this Funday and laid on plenty of family entertainment.
The size of the attendance meant their efforts were not in vain, despite the fact that the Derbyshire line-up looked like a collection of cast-offs and novices. It was obvious why they are bottom of the group.
This form of the game relies on big hitting and tense finishes if it is to appeal consistently to the wider audience which is being pursued nationwide.
But after Derbyshire hit two sixes in their first 16 runs and five fours in the first six overs of powerplay, there was only one boundary in the next ten overs.
Hughes then twice hit Usman Arshad behind square leg, first for four then six.
The six came when Arshad tried to roll his wrist over the ball, only to deliver a full toss.
He may have had the excuse that the ball was getting damp as drizzle had been falling for some time and with eight balls remaining the innings was interrupted for the second time as the rain grew heavier.
On the resumption Arshad bowled his second wide of the 19th over, which cost 13, before Turner cracked Stokes to backward point.
Paul Collingwood held his third catch to go with figures of two for 17 from four overs, which included having the dangerous Wayne Madsen lbw for eight.
Hastings’ previous best figures were three for 14 in his third and final T20 international against Sri Lanka in 2011.
He shrugged off the sight of his first ball being lifted from off stump behind square leg for six by Durston to remove the top four batsmen.
His effort was slightly tarnished by two no-balls, one of which was spotted by the third umpire in the Sky-televised match and might have cost him a wicket.
But the same batsman, ex- Lancashire wicketkeeper Gareth Cross, sliced a catch to backward point two balls later, where it was well held by Collingwood, diving to his right.
Derbyshire looked short of batting quality following the sudden retirement of Stephen Moore last Thursday.
Released by Lancashire at the end of last season, he is pursuing a business career.
Left-hander Chesney Hughes, who has achieved surprisingly little since his 270 against Yorkshire last season, looked capable of inflicting damage.
He hit Arshad over midwicket for six off the first ball of the third over and clubbed four fours on his way to 30 off 16 balls before he played across a full delivery from Hastings, which hit his leg stump.
Fellow Australian Marcus North was Hastings’ fourth victim when he gave Collingwood his second catch. Now on his sixth county, North is back living in the North-East, where he began his English journey with Gateshead Fell in the late 1990s. He played a season for Durham ten years ago, but this was an unhappy return as he made only two during the slide from 47 for two to 63 for six.
It made poor viewing and it was just as well Mustard and Stokes briefly provided the kind of fireworks guaranteed to warm the crowd.
C F Hughes b Hastings........................30
W J Durston lbw b Hastings .................. 7
G Cross c Collingwood b Hastings..... 5
W L Madsen lbw b Collingwood .......... 8
M North c Collingwood b Hastings ..... 2
S L Elstone c Borthwick b Stokes........ 0
A L Hughes not out................................43
A Palladino c MacLeod b C’wood........ 7
D Wainwright st Mustard b Breese...... 2
G T Cork c Stokes b Arshad ............... 12
M L Turner c Collingwood b Stokes .... 1
Extras (lb1 w3 nb4 pens 0) . 8
Total (19.1 overs) ...............125
Fall: 1-10 2-29 3-47 4-57 5-57 6-63 7-77
Bowling: Arshad 4-0-35-1. Hastings 4-0-
26-4. Pringle 2-0-17-0. Collingwood 4-0-
17-2. Stokes 3.1-0-20-2. Breese 2-0-9-1.
M D Stoneman b Durston .....................11
P Mustard b Turner ................................54
C S MacLeod not out .............................. 9
B A Stokes not out.................................49
Extras (lb4 w2 pens 0) ......... 6
Total 2 wkts (13.2 overs)..129
Fall: 1-68 2-68
Bowling: Turner 3-0-30-1. Palladino 2-0-
13-0. Cork 2-0-34-0. Durston 2-0-8-1. A L
Hughes 3-0-22-0. Wainwright 1.2-0-18-0.
Durham beat Derbyshire by 8 wkts