A top-order batting collapse cost Lancashire the chance to go two wins from two in the Royal London one-day Cup as they failed to chase down 288 against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road tonight and lost by 76 runs.
The Lightning, who won the toss, saw Nathan Buck impress with 3-45 from ten overs, including 3-15 from his first eight, and new ball partner Saqib Mahmood return 3-55.
Jordan Clark and Tom Smith also picked up a wicket apiece, while Ben Duckett’s 98 was the feature of the home innings. Rob Keogh also hit 66.
Karl Brown hit 51, but he was one of four wickets to fall for 31 runs inside seven overs as the reply slipped from 67-1 to 98-5. Luke Procter top-scored with 52.
They were later bowled out for 211 inside 44 overs as left-arm spinner Graeme White finished with a career best 6-37 from his 10 overs - the sixth best List A figures for a Northants bowler ever.
White’s figures were also the best by a county bowler against Lancashire in this format for 25 years.
“We were probably out played I feel with bat and ball,” said captain Steven Croft.
“We might have misread the pitch slightly, but we still feel like we would have chased those runs down. With the ball, we felt like they got 20 or 30 too many and with the bat, we didn’t take it deep enough.
“280 was very gettable on there, and no one had much application apart from Proccy. He had a great tempo. Browny got a good start and got out.
“I felt if we’d have had one big partnership, we’d have got there.
“In the middle we gave away too many singles and couldn’t shut them down as we wanted. Duckett played a mature knock. We would have been happy chasing 260.
“It almost felt like we wanted to win it 30 or 40 overs really, whereas 50 overs is a long time to bat. You don’t have to play a boring innings, but it didn’t need the bish, bash, bosh of the new sort of one-day games we’ve been seeing.”
Northants were involved in a record-breaking opening round game against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge when both sides got 420 plus, with the Steelbacks losing out.
Here, the pitch, used for two previous T20 clashes, was far from fast and true, and Northants did well to recover from 37-3 in the early stages of the eleventh.
Duckett and Keogh shared 137 inside 26 overs for the fourth wicket to underpin the innings.
That was after Adam Rossington had his off bail clipped by Buck, as did Alex Wakely by Mahmood. Sandwiched in between, Josh Cobb clipped former Leicestershire team-mate Buck to short mid-wicket.
Duckett and Keogh built their partnership without taking too many risks, and they took the score to 174-3 in the 36th over.
At that stage, Northants looked as if they could even post 300.
But Lancashire fought back well, taking five wickets in the last 15 overs, including Sri Lankan overseas all-rounder Seekkuge Prasanna for a swift 30.
Buck broke the Duckett and Keogh alliance with the second ball of his second spell when the latter skied a catch to Smith at short cover in the 36th over.
Mahmood later bowled both Rob Newton and Prasanna off inside edges in the 47th and 49th overs of the innings.
Lancashire lost Alviro Petersen in the third over of their reply, chopped on to Azharullah - 6-1.
But Brown settled quickly. He hit Azharullah for successive boundaries in the seventh over, and Lancashire reached 50 in the eleventh over.
Brown shared 61 inside 12 overs for the second wicket with Smith, who was bowled as he advanced to White’s first ball of left-arm spin in the 15th, leaving the score at 67-2.
Unfortunately, it was the first of the four wickets to fall for 31 as the score slipped to 98-5 in the 21st.
Liam Livingstone swept Prasanna’s leg-spinners for six in the 16th before Brown, who reached 50 off 46 balls, slapped White to mid-on two balls later as the score slipped to 87-3.
And when Jos Buttler played on to Prasanna, Lancashire were in trouble four down.
Livingstone was next to go, stumped off White for 18, before Croft was later run out from mid-wicket having been sent back by Procter - 124-6 after 26 overs.
Procter and Clark kept things alive by taking the score to 171-6 after 35, bringing up their 50 partnership shortly afterwards.
With 15 overs left, Lancashire needed 117 more.
Procter had settled nicely at the crease, lofting spin straight or over the top for boundaries on a couple of occasions.
Unfortunately, he lost Clark in the 37th over as, like Livingstone, he was stumped off White for 17, leaving the score at 178-7.
White completed his second career five-for in the 39th when he bowled Stephen Parry with only eight more runs added to the total.
And when he bowled Buck at the start of the 41st - 197-9 - it represented a career best.
Procter was the last man to fall when he chopped on to Azharullah. He was the fifth man to chop on and eleventh to be bowled in the match.