Mahmood stars in tight Durham T20 victory
England Lions duo Liam Livingstone and Saqib Mahmood starred as Lancashire beat Durham by four runs in the NatWest T20 Blast at Emirates Riverside tonight.
But the Lightning need a miracle to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Livingstone returned from Lions duty to hit four fours and the only six of the innings in a 24-ball unbeaten 43 as the Lightning made 176-3.
He was full of invention and power as he posted one of three scores in the forties before pace bowler Mahmood, also on international duty this week, took three wickets in four balls to put the skids under the Durham chase.
It led Lancashire to their fifth Blast win in 13 matches as Durham responded with 172-5 as they failed to get 18 off the last over.
Mahmood finished with a career best 3-31 from four overs.
Unfortunately, they are unlikely to go any further in the competition.
First they need to beat Birmingham at Emirates Old Trafford next Friday and hope for other results to go their way, including a tie or No Result between Durham and Derbyshire.
“It was a really good win against a strong side,” said captain Steven Croft.
“It’s disappointing that it’s come too late, but it was a great team performance set up by the bat. I thought we batted really well and had a clear plan.
“But it’s really frustrating. You don’t mind losing T20 games, it’s going to be nip and tuck at times, but the manner in which we’ve lost games this year has been disappointing.
“If we are being completely honest, we have almost lost that right to get a bit of luck next week.
“We have been disappointing in some of the games, and it’s been an un-Lancashire like side in this format.”
On a big playing area, Lancashire played smart cricket by turning ones into twos and twos into threes, with Livingstone hitting Usman Arshad flat and straight for six into the 18th over, taking the score to 152-3 with two overs left.
Livingstone ramped and reverse ramped with success after Alviro Petersen had made 42 off 36 and Karl Brown 41 off 26.
The pair shared 68 for the second wicket before Petersen, who has scored 341 runs in his last six Blast innings, was caught behind off Arshad, leaving the score at 103-2 in the 13th.
After Durham had won the toss, Luis Reece was the first to go for 14, caught behind off Paul Coughlin in the sixth over having been struck on the head shortly before.
Brown was lbw sweeping at Scott Borthwick’s leg-spin in the 14th over, following Petersen back to the pavilion three balls later - 105-3.
But fourth-wicket pair Livingstone and captain Steven Croft, who added a useful 24 not out off 14, finished the innings well with an unbroken 71 off 6.4 overs.
Nathan Buck only conceded one run from the first over of the Durham reply before Jordan Clark had Phil Mustard caught behind off a top-edged pull as the score slipped to 18-1 in the fourth.
The hosts, however, kept themselves firmly in the game thanks to stands of 45 for the second wicket between Mark Stoneman and Scot Callum MacLeod and 52 for the third between MacLeod and Gordon Muchall.
Stoneman hit 36 off 30 before being bowled by Steven Croft and MacLeod 45 off 31. They took the score to 115-2 in the 15th over, with 62 needed.
But that was when Mahmood turned the game with his trio of wickets, all bowled.
He yorked MacLeod with the fourth ball of the 15th over before bowling Ryan Pringle for a two-ball duck.
And when he bowled Muchall for 22 with the first ball of the 17th, Durham were 124-5 needing 53.
They took that target to 49 off the last three overs and 34 off two overs through Keaton Jennings and Coughlin as Lancashire dropped a couple of tough outfield chances.
Buck then defended 18 off the last over to finish with 0-26 from his four overs.
“Saq did really well coming in today,” added Croft. “He came on and got wickets at a crucial stage. It wasn’t just about keeping it tight, we know that wickets stem the flow as well.
“We are really pleased for him. He’s been around the Lions squad this week, and it’s great to see him on the field performing.”
Lancashire v Birmingham NatWest T20 Blast: