Levi ton not enough as Steelbacks slip to second Royal London One Day Cup defeat at Derbsyhire
Northants Steelbacks suffered their second successive Royal London One Day Cup defeat on Sunday as they went down by six wickets to Derbyshire Falcons.
Thrashed by 10 wickets by Warwickshire in their opener on Thursday, David Ripley's men were hoping to get back on track at Derby, but the hosts completed a record-breaking run-chase to leave the County pointless from their opening two fixtures.
Richard Levi scored an excellent 109 from 107 balls and Josh Cobb hit 56 as the Steelbacks posted a decent score of 307 for seven, but it wasn't enough.
Shiv Thakor, who had earlier claimed three for 39 with the ball, smashed a brilliant 129 to help his team to 309 for six with eight balls to spare.
It was Thakor's first limited overs century, and he was superbly supported by Billy Godleman who made 95 as the pair put on a match-winning 168-run second-wicket partnership.
Earlier, Northants had looked on course for a bigger total than they ended up with when Cobb hit three sixes in a 49-ball 50, but the Falcons bowlers regrouped and managed to exert some control despite Levi’s impressive striking.
After Cobb was bowled behind his legs and Rob Keogh drove to short extra, Levi and Alex Wakely took the visitors past 200 before the skipper failed to clear long-on.
A score well in excess of 300 looked on against an attack missing three frontline bowlers, but the Falcons kept their discipline and although Levi reached his century off 104 balls, the Steelbacks had to scramble to pass 300 after he miscued Thakor to deep mid-wicket.
Derbyshire had never successfully chased more than 300 in a limited-overs game, but the Steelbacks also had key bowlers missing with Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Gleeson and Ben Sanderson all sidelined, and Godleman and Ben Slater played with authority to put on 71 in 11 overs before Slater was beaten by Ben Duckett’s throw from cover.
Godleman took consecutive fours from Miles Richardson who was playing his first one-day game for Northants and with Thakor batting aggressively from the start, the Falcons took a firm hold on the contest.
The Steelbacks bowlers had failed to take a wicket in the previous game against Warwickshire and they looked increasingly unlikely to breakthrough as Godleman and Thakor scored freely without taking risks.
The 150 stand came up in 26 overs and Thakor celebrated his century which came off only 86 balls with the first of three consecutive fours off Steven Crook in the 38th over.
Godleman looked certain to complete his second one-day hundred against Northants but Rob Keogh found some extra bounce to have him caught behind in the 39th over.
Derbyshire had thrown away many winning positions last season, but although Thakor was run out when he was caught off a no ball , they eased home to condemn Northants to a second defeat in the competition.
A frustrated Levi said: “Every time we tried to put our foot down and put them under pressure we lost wickets and had to rebuild.
"We had plenty of partnerships, we just didn’t get one big one or an effective one which kept pushing us back but 307 at the beginning of the day we would have taken.
"Derbyshire played unbelievably well in the powerplay to get ahead of the game, Shiv Thakor played a superb knock, and sometimes you get beaten."