Croft wants improved Lancashire performance
Steven Croft has urged his Lancashire team-mates to rediscover the famous Lightning fight which he says was absent for Saturday’s opening NatWest T20 Blast defeat against Derbyshire.
Croft was dismayed to see the Falcons ease to a 132-run target at Emirates Old Trafford, winning by nine wickets with 6.2 overs to spare.
The county captain knows his side will be boosted by the inclusion of international duo Jos Buttler and Martin Guptill when Durham visit tomorrow, but he knows the rest of the side must step up their performance level.
"It was a slow start for us, but we weren't at full strength,” said Croft.
“We were against it a little bit on the toss. The pitch had been covered and was quite damp. But no excuses. We should have got 20 to 30 more runs.
“The pitch did flatten out, but I still think we should have made them work a lot harder for those runs.
"That was the main thing that was disappointing for me. It was the scrap. We usually scrape a total and take it down to the wire. Even if the odds are against us, we get a total that we think we can compete and scrap.”
The inclusion of Buttler and New Zealand overseas opener Guptill sprinkles stardust on Lancashire’s batting line-up.
"Jos's going from strength to strength. You could bat him almost anywhere in a T20 and he's a match-winner,” continued Croft.
"I think Guptill at the top, he's a match-winner as well, and he will hopefully win us two or three games. If you put Jos in there as well, it's a great batting unit.
"Where we did struggle on Saturday was the bowling, but we know that we're a good bowling side, especially in the spin department.
“Neil Wagner also came in and showed, especially with his later overs, that he can get his yorkers in well.
“Everyone has to step their game up for Friday. We've got a massive game Sunday (Yorkshire in the Championship), but Friday comes first. That's where all our attention is at the minute.”
Croft knows Guptill well having spent a winter playing for Auckland in 2008/9, at the time when the right-hander made his Test, one-day and T20 international debuts for New Zealand.
Guptill, 29, has gone from strength to strength since, and the pair have kept in touch: “We have a bit of banter over Twitter,” revealed Croft.
“You could always see he had the potential. He was a great ball striker, and he always wanted to learn.
“He is just a little bit younger than me, but he had a great head on his shoulders. He was brilliant in the field, and he's a match-winner. He will fit in really well with our side, and hopefully we can see him win a few games for us.”
Durham, who won at Emirates Old Trafford last year, also lost their opening Blast clash last Friday - a high-scoring game against Worcestershire at New Road.