Stephen Moore hit a brilliantly timed century on his return to former county Worcestershire to help Lancashire Lightning keep their Clydesdale Bank 40 hopes alive with a resounding nine-wicket win at New Road.
Sajid Mahmood had earlier claimed his best competitive one-day figures for nearly six years. The 28 year-old pace bowler, back after a week on the sidelines with a calf strain, finished with 4-40 from eight overs as the hosts were restricted to 208-8 after electing to bat first.
The Royals had been going well at 82-1 in the 18th over, but were shot in the foot by five of their batsmen falling courtesy of poor shots.
Moore, who spent seven seasons with the Pears, then shared an unbroken second wicket partnership of 191 inside 31 overs with Paul Horton as the two points were claimed with 33 balls to spare. It was a record second wicket stand for Lancashire in their 40-over history.
Moore finished with 105 not out off 97 balls, including 12 fours and two sixes, while Horton made his way to 78 not out off 92 balls on an easy paced pitch.
The 29 year-old Moore had reached his half century off 66 balls, and his second 50 runs came off 27 balls. He reached three figures with three successive boundaries off Gareth Andrew.
“We wanted a big partnership up at the top. Luckily Paul and I managed to do that,” said Moore, who is still confident the Red Rose can qualify for the semi-finals of the competition despite having only won two from their first five matches.
“We’ve said that we need to treat every game as a knock out from here. That’s how we’re going to go about playing our one-day cricket from now on, and that can make us very dangerous. If we win every game from here, there’s every chance that will take us to the semi-finals.”
Lancashire have seven to play, and face Surrey Lions at Old Trafford next Sunday.
“We haven’t had a great time in the last two games in this competition, so to win in that fashion was fantastic,” continued Moore, who described the return to his former stomping ground as a “weird day”: “I’m usually on the other side of the dressing room,” he added.
Home skipper Vikram Solanki had top-scored with 45 off 65 balls, including three fours and a six, but he was one of those to depart needlessly as he was bowled trying to heave the medium pace of Mark Chilton to leg.
Chilton, whose bowling has not been showcased too much over the years due to back problems, claimed his first one-day scalp for just short of five years. His last was David Hussey.
Mahmood, having had Phil Jaques caught behind by Luke Sutton off a top edged pull, bowled Daryl Mitchell, had Andrew caught at short fine-leg by Daren Powell and James Cameron (41) well caught at cover by a diving Chilton in the last over.
He claimed five wickets in a one-day friendly against Sri Lanka A at Liverpool in 2007, but these were his best figures in a meaningful game since 2-42 against Kent at Tonbridge Wells in 2004.
Left-arm spinner Stephen Parry also finished with 2-40 from eight, picking up the wickets of Moeen Ali and Alex Kervezee, while Tom Smith also struck once.
Smith was run out early in Lancashire’s reply, courtesy of a direct hit from deep backward square-leg by Moeen as the left-hander came back for a second run.
But Moore, who has now scored two centuries in the CB40 this season, and Horton eased to victory. Horton, who helped to take 18 runs off Richard Jones in the sixth over of the chase, reached his 50 first off 54 balls.
Moore was quite happy to nudge the singles around to ensure there were no hiccups. But, with the two points virtually assured when he reached his 50, he unleashed with devastating effect.
“I think it was that type of wicket,” he commented. “Once you got in, it was quite nice to bat on. We also had a little bit of momentum behind us. Vik had to bring the field in, and it helped to accelerate the scoring.”
Graham Hardcastle at New Road
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd