Lancashire's fabulous start to the new season continued tonight with an entertaining eleven-run win over the Nottinghamshire Outlaws in the North Division of the Twenty20 Cup.
The Lightning controlled this clash for most parts, posting a respectable 151-6 before reducing the visitors to 19-5 in the fourth over of their chase.
See the highlights tomorrow, including a stunning catch from Stephen Parry, tomorrow on www.Lancs.TV
Hear Tom Smith's post match interview on BBC Radio Lancashire
Tom Smith claimed 3-20 from three overs, while Glen Chapple finished with 2-29 from four overs. But, for the second match running, the talk of Old Trafford was Lancashire’s catching because Stephen Parry pulled off yet another stunner.
Steven Croft had caught what Yorkshire director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon described as the best catch in the history of the game here on Tuesday. This was certainly as good.
With the score at 7-2 in the second over of the Notts innings, Australian Adam Voges was convinced he had uppercut a ball from Chapple for six over third-man. But Parry caught the ball before flicking it up in the air off balance and catching it again after jumping back inside the ropes.
It was a carbon copy of the batsman’s very own catch during a Twenty20 international for Australia against New Zealand in February. Only a few days later, Jacob Oram did something similar for New Zealand against India.
“I think it is one of the best catches you will ever see,” said Smith. “We have been very lucky to have seen two great catches over the last couple of days. Crofty is a great athlete, and Steve showed a cool head to flick it up and step back over. He took it cool as you like.
“You will very rarely see it happen, but tonight was one of those nights when everything seemed to work for us.”
South African Francois du Plessis top scored for the Lightning with 31 off 21 balls, compatriot Ashwell Prince finished 30 not out off 28 and Paul Horton notched 29 off 31. There were a number of Lancashire batsmen, including Gareth Cross for 19 off 13, who got starts in a solid effort after being invited to bat first.
“We are getting into a good habit of winning,” continued Smith. “We are batting well together, forging good partnerships.”
England bowling duo Ryan Sidebottom and Graeme Swann returned figures of 2-26 from four overs and 1-25 from four respectively, while left-arm spinning all-rounder Samit Patel notched 2-30.
Patel, with bat in hand, then set about Nottinghamshire’s recovery from a disastrous position. He hit what seemed just a consolatory 35 off 29 balls, including six fours - and three of them in one Smith over.
Smith had claimed the wickets of Ally Brown and Swann in the first over of the reply, the wicket of Brown, caught behind down the leg-side by Cross, coming off the very first ball.
“It wasn’t the best ball I have ever bowled, but a wicket is a wicket,” smiled Smith. “It put them on the back foot. Chappie followed up with a couple of wickets, and it was a good six overs for us.”
Patel recovered things to 62-5 in the tenth over, but holed out to Sajid Mahmood in Gary Keedy’s first over. Mark Ealham followed to du Plessis, but then Chris Read continued the fight back.
He notched a superb unbeaten 58 off 47 balls in the midst of an unbroken eighth wicket stand of 66 with Sidebottom (17 not out). The pair got it down to 18 needed off the last over, and finished 140-7.
“In this game people are always going to chance their arm,” reasoned Smith. “They had a license at 19-5, they had nothing to lose. It came off for them. Patel played a great knock, so did Read. Fortunately we just had enough to get over the line.”
Photos: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd