Andrew Flintoff walloped a Twenty20 Cup career best 93 off 41 balls to propel Lancashire Lightning into the quarter-finals thanks to a thumping 56-run win over the Derbyshire Phantoms.
Lancashire posted a club record 220-5 from the 20 overs, thanks in the main to a fourth wicket partnership of 99 in ten overs between Flintoff and VVS Laxman, who also hit a career best 63 off 45 balls.
Editors note: we were expecting to show the highlights of this match on LancsTV, but have been informed by Derbyshire today that there were technical problems at the ground which prevented any footage being recorded. We are sorry that we cannot show any footage of Lancashire's win but this is totally out of our control.
Derbyshire, chasing an unlikely victory target of 221, fought back with Chris Rogers hitting 52 off 30 balls and Greg Smith 56 off 42 before finishing on 164-7. Flintoff, the man of the match, claimed figures of 2-32 from four overs.
31 year-old Freddie links up with England’s Ashes squad tomorrow not only safe in the knowledge that his assault has booked the Lightning’s place in the quarter-finals of this competition, but they will also advance as North Division champions. They will gain a home tie in the last eight as a result.
“Today was one of those days when I tried everything and it came off,” said Flintoff, who hit nine fours and six sixes. “I have not had many of those days recently, so I will enjoy it. The one thing that I am trying to do is enjoy my batting. I am here to enjoy playing cricket, that’s why I play. I got better throughout my innings. I got off the mark with a couple of singles. I got a four away off the spinner, and felt good after that.”
Laxman mixed power with finesse, and Flintoff did the same. But the latter’s power was just something else. Flintoff warmed up with a couple of fours before cutting loose to take 21 off Garry Park in the 12th over. He hit two sixes and two fours. But that was just the appetizer because he later creamed 26, including two sixes and three fours, as Nantie Hayward went for 31 in the 18th over of the innings.
Freddie would have surely got a hundred had Smith not pulled off a stunning catch on the deep square boundary in the 20th over, but it was still his highest score in a competitive match since his century against Australia at Trent Bridge in 2005.
“There was a bit of unfinished business with Parky because he knocked me over at Old Trafford in the Championship last year,” continued Fred. “I was going to go after him. It was nice to get a big over. From then, I felt I could do pretty much everything. I have played against Nantie (Hayward) a few times, and I think he has hit me on the head before.
“I am not bothered (about getting 100). People get carried away with hundreds. If someone had said that you would get 93 before I went out there, I would have snapped their arm off. I tried a few things that I have never tried in my life before like changing my grip and flipping it over fine leg. It’s great when those kind of days come along, but I am not going to get carried away with it.”
Flintoff bowled Graham Wagg in his first over before Rogers and Smith tried to replicate his effort. They succeeded briefly. Steven Croft had Rogers caught by Mark Chilton at deep square, while Stephen Parry had Stuart Law caught behind for one. There were a couple of run outs before Sajid Mahmood and Flintoff picked up further wickets, those of Park and DJ Pipe bowled both.
Lancashire, who have also qualified for the top flight of next season's new P20 competition, travel to face Durham Dynamos at the Riverside tomorrow night.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd