Lancashire made it three wins out of three and enjoyed a Roses double-winning week with a five wicket win at Headingley tonight.
The Red Rose bowling unit turned in another impressive Twenty20 display to restrict the home side to 111, and then Steven Croft with an unbeaten 40 and Paul Horton (29 off 16 balls) starred with the bat as the Lightning reached their target off the first ball of the final over.
The county’s spinners have been prominent figures in their first two wins, including Tuesday’s mauling of the White Rose at Old Trafford, but seamers Glen Chapple and Sajid Mahmood claimed the headlines here.
Captain Chapple returned figures of 2-14 from four overs, while man of the match Mahmood recorded an equally impressive 2-17 from four.
“That was the best I have seen us bowl at Headingley,” said Chapple. “If you bowl well first up, you will always put the other side under pressure.”
However the day started well for the home start who raced to 31 runs in 5 overs thanks to opening pair Andrew Gale and Anthony McGrath.
Saj Mahmood struck first, bowling McGrath, and then a smart piece of fielding by Francois du Plessis provided the next breakthrough in the 7th over.
Gale set off for a quick single, but failed to make his ground after being sent back as du Plessis swooped in from mid wicket, the Yorkshire batsmen given out after a TV referral.
On Tuesday at Old Trafford the Lancashire spinners tied Yorkshire down to great effect, and they posed similar problems for the Yorkshire batsmen again tonight.
Gary Keedy started his spell with a maiden, and found great support from Stephen Parry and du Plessis. The three combined for 13 overs in which only 66 runs were scored and Yorkshire, 53 for 2 at the halfway stage of their innings, never found the acceleration they required to set a meaningful total.
Two quick wickets in the 12th and 13th overs proved particularly crucial.
First Michael Vaughan perished hooking Glen Chapple to deep backward square where Mahmood made a fine running catch to leave the White Rose on 68 for 3.
Then without the addition of another run, Rich Pyrah was bowled first ball round his legs by du Plessis, the double loss helping to subdue the 11,300 partisan crowd, and worse was to follow for the home side.
Tim Bresnan was caught in two minds by a slower Mahmood delivery, and dollied a gentle catch to wicketkeeper Gareth Cross, and after hitting Keedy for the first six of the match, Jacques Rudolph perished attempting another big hit but only succeeded in finding Chapple at mid off.
Adil Rashid was needlessly run out attempting a second run but droped his bat before crashed into wicketkeeper Cross, and Simon Guy hit full toss to Prince at long off in the final over of the innings.
Yorkshire's total of 111 looked inadequate, and the Lancashire opening pair of Tom Smith and Paul Horton set about making short work of their task by hitting 41 runs inside 5 overs.
Horton was in great touch, flicking Bresnan over backward square for four before dishing out similar treatment to Deon Kruis in the following over.
Smith joined in, cracking Bresnan through the covers for four before the left hander pulled a short ball pulled over square leg for 6.
Yorkshire’s first success arrived when Rashid bowled Smith , but Horton greeted the introduction of David Wainwright with a boundary, cutting the spin bowler square of the back foot, and then followed with a three to the same spot.
Steven Croft hit Rashid for a straight six as the runs continued to flow, but with the score at 63 in the ninth over, Horton pushed a gentle catch to McGrath at short mid off, and du Plessis fell lbw first ball to revive Yorkshire’s hopes.
Ashwell Prince combined with Croft to ease Lancashire towards their target without any undue alarm in a 39 run partnership over 8 overs, Croft hitting one ball from Rashid on to the football stand roof.
Prince though, was clearly furious with himself for getting out with 10 runs required but despite losing Mark Chilton for two, Cross and Croft took Lancashire through to their target with relative ease.
Croft settled any nerves by hitting a leg side full toss from Kruis for four in the 19th over, and then the winning runs from the first ball of the final over.
“It has been a good start for us,” reflected Chapple. “This is a very big win because it is a difficult place to come.”
Mahmood, who bowled a ball at 93mph, said: “I am bowling really well at the moment. I feel in good rhythm. In Twenty20, you have got to be good with your variations.
“The team has done brilliantly so far. The bowling unit has been fantastic for us.”
Editors Note: We were unable to receive a TV feed at Headingley tonight, so unfortunately there will be no LancsTV highlights of this match.
Photos: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd