REPORT: Lightning v Foxes, Royal London One-Day Cup
Haseeb Hameed top scored with an impressive 88 on his one-day debut and Jordan Clark hit a belligerent 47 not out but half centuries from Mark Pettini, Cameron Delport and Mark Cosgrove helped Leicestershire to an exciting three-wicket victory with four balls to spare in the Royal London One-Day Cup opener at Emirates Old Trafford tonight.
It was an exciting one-day game where the fortunes of the two teams fluctuated throughout after Lancashire had posted 314-8 from their 50 overs and Leicestershire replied with 311-7, chasing a DLS revised target of 309 off 49 overs.
Liam Livingstone continued to captain the side in the absence of Steven Croft who was missing his first competitive one-day game for the Red Rose since the 2006 C&G Trophy final, ending a remarkable run of 239 games. James Anderson was also included in the side for his first Lancashire List A game since 2011.
Leicestershire opening pair Delport and Pettini raced away with a partnership of 101 off 17.2 overs to give the visitors a great start in their original pursuit of 315.
Delport hit the first six of the Leicestershire innings in the 8th over, while Pettini made the most of being dropped at deep square leg when on 21 to score a valuable half-century for the Foxes.
Two wickets in three balls by Livingstone brought Lancashire back into the game, the off spinner trapping Pettini lbw for 59 and then having Neil Dexter well caught at extra cover by Stephen Parry to leave Leicestershire on 101-2 in the 18th over.
Delport and Cosgrove slowly but surely rebuilt the innings, with Delport reaching his half century from 68 balls but then falling to a quite brilliant catch by Livingstone running back from mid-on from the bowling of Anderson to be out for 62 just after the halfway stage of the Foxes’ innings, leaving the visitors on 137-3.
Cosgrove and Ned Eckersley fought back with an 89 partnership off 12 overs to leave the game finely poised, Cosgrove bringing up his 50 off 53 balls by driving Livingstone for six.
After rain forced the players off briefly, with one over lost and a revised target of 309 runs from 49 overs set, Leicestershire immediately lost Eckersley for 39 when he edged Anderson high to Parry at third man to leave the score on 226-4 in the 38th over.
Lancashire were then celebrating further success when Clark trapped Lewis Hill lbw for 2 in the following over, 230-5, with the visitors now requiring 76 runs off the last 10 overs.
And it was Clark who struck again with the important wicket of Cosgrove after the left hander edged behind to Alex Davies for 67 off 66 balls which meant the visitors had suddenly lost 3 wickets for 18 runs in 19 balls and still needed 65 off 51 balls.
Tom Wells and Rob Sayer held their nerve to take the Foxes steadily towards their target, Sayer hitting two sixes in his 24 from 18 balls and helping Wells add 44 in 5.3 overs before he hit Bailey to Livingstone at long on at the start of the 47th over with 21 runs required from 17 balls.
Wells, who made a vital 32 not out off 27 balls, and Zak Chappell took the visitors to their target, Chappell twice edging fours to third man in the 48th over before hitting the winning runs from the second ball of the final over.
Earlier Lancashire had made a good start to their innings thanks to an 81-run partnership inside 15 overs between Alex Davies and Haseeb Hameed.
Hameed drove the fourteenth ball of the match for the first boundary while Davies drove the returning Gavin Griffiths for the three fours in four balls during the 4th over to set the Lightning off to a positive start.
Davies next pulled Chappell for six over mid-wicket while Hameed drove the same bowler through mid-off for a boundary that brought up the fifty partnership from just 53 balls.
Davies then drove off Jamie Sykes’ first ball to the mid-on boundary and was looking in great touch, so it was a surprise when he reverse swept the left-arm spinner straight to Griffiths at backward point after making an excellent 41 off 45 balls.
Karl Brown became the second wicket to fall when bowled for 6 by off spinner Sayer with the score on exactly 100 in the 20th over, but Hameed and Livingstone steadied the Lightning with a 73-run partnership across 12 overs.
Hameed continued to impress with an array of attacking strokes in making an assured 88 off 101 balls including nine fours that anchored the Lancashire innings superbly, while Livingstone was the more aggressive of the two, hitting Dexter for a massive six over mid-wicket, before falling for 39 when top edging an attempted pull off Chappell to Eckersley at mid-wicket.
Hameed glanced Sykes down the leg side to wicketkeeper Lewis Hill nine runs later when looking well set to reach his century as Lancashire became pegged back slightly at 182-4 after 34 overs.
Dane Vilas and Luke Procter kept the score moving along with a 57 partnership off 44 balls that contained only six boundaries but featured some excellent running.
But both fell in quick succession, Procter holing out to Pettini on the square leg boundary off Wells for a run-a-ball 21 and Vilas drove Sykes to Griffiths at deep cover having contributed a useful 39 off 29 balls.
That left the Lightning on 244-6 in the 43rd over but Clark produced the acceleration needed with a sparkling 47 not out off 34 balls, including three huge sixes, one of them hitting the windows on The Point balcony.
Clark found good support from Ryan McLaren and Parry in adding 70 runs from the final 46 balls to take Lancashire to 314-8 from their 50 overs, but sadly it proved to be not enough.
Lancashire now travel to Headingley to face Yorkshire on Monday, and our next home game is next Friday, May 5, when Northants are the visitors for the Royal London Cup match at Liverpool CC. (11am).
Haseeb Hameed made his one-day debut today, but the opening batsman was understandably disappointed with the outcome.
“We are very disappointed to come away with a loss,” he said. “I think the rain did help the ball skid on and make it nicer to bat on (in Leicestershire’s innings). It had been slowing up a bit as the day went on, so I think we got the wrong end of the conditions but I guess that’s how it works out some days”.
“Initially I thought 314 was enough purely because we thought the wicket was slowing up and bring our bowlers more in to play with their skills but you can’t control what happens with the weather and those skills weren’t really as beneficial as a result (after the rain).
“If we look back at our innings, we probably lost wickets too regularly throughout our innings. It would have been nice for a couple of us to get a really big partnership which could have really set us up to get a bigger score.
“That wasn’t the case and probably we fell a bit short.
Hameed was pleased to have been selected for white ball action adding: “It was a good experience.”
“It was my first one-day game of any sort in a long time so it was nice to get out and experience it at this level. I’ve got a lot of learnings to take away from it. Hopefully I can build on that start, keep learning quickly and develop.”
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