SKIPPER Mark Stoneman hailed Phil Mustard after a blistering batting display helped Durham Jets rout Derbyshire Falcons to record a much-needed NatWest T20 Blast victory yesterday.
Fine performances from John Hastings, Mustard and Ben Stokes helped Durham home by eight wickets with 40 balls to spare at Chester-le-Street.
Stoneman, Durham’s one-day captain, said: “We haven’t done as well as we would have liked at the top of the order, but when the Colonel (Mustard) hit his first four it seemed to flick a switch.
“When he’s in that mood he’s a very destructive player and can take anyone down. It was very unfortunate for young Greg Cork.”
In seaming conditions, man of the match Hastings bowled straight through his four overs at the start for career-best T20 figures of 4-26 after Derbyshire were put in and twice had their innings interrupted by rain.
Despite Chesney Hughes hitting 30 off 16 balls, they slumped from 47-2 to 83-8 and needed a sensible innings of 43 not out from Alex Hughes to achieve respectability.
Greg Cork, 19-year-old son of Dominic, helped to put on 32 in five overs for the ninth wicket on his senior debut as Derbyshire reached 125 before they were all out with five balls unused.
Cork was brilliantly caught by Stokes, running in from deep cover, as the man who is expected to be recalled to the England squad this week made a big impression.
He took two wickets and finished the match by lifting the first two balls of the 14th over, bowled by David Wainwright, over mid-wicket for his second and third sixes to finish on 49 not out off 26 balls.
Cork, a left-arm seamer, came on for the fourth over and succeeded in bowling Mustard into form.
After a lean run, Mustard scored only one off the first nine balls he faced, but had just turned Mark Turner behind square for four when Cork came on.
The first ball was fiercely smashed down the ground, then two more fours were driven and one pulled before the last ball was deposited over long-on.
When an edged four off Turner took him to 50, the last 49 of Mustard’s runs had come off 16 balls.
The Sunderland-born wicketkeeper tried another big hit over mid-wicket when he was bowled by Turner for 54.
Without addition, Stoneman was bowled trying to cut Wes Durston’s off spin, but with only 58 needed off 12 overs it was a simple task for Stokes and Calum MacLeod.
Derbyshire skipper Wayne Madsen said: “When Chesney got going we thought 150 was going to be about par, but after he was out we were guilty of going at it too hard until Alex Hughes steadied things down. He played really well.”