Lancashire Lightning clinched a thumping 69-run Friends Provident Twenty20 win over Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Click on the image above for the match highlights
The visitors had been well placed at 42-1 in the sixth over of their reply to the Red Rose county’s commanding 157-5, but they lost six wickets for 15 runs in 26 balls to be bowled out for just 88 inside 18 overs.
In fact, Northants lost their last nine wickets for 46 runs to ensure that their hosts have now won their opening two North Division matches.
It completed a miserable return to Old Trafford for ex-Red Rose due Lou Vincent, the locum overseas player, and Mal Loye, who picked up a torn calf whilst batting and expects to be out for up to six weeks.
Lightning pair Tom Smith and Simon Kerrigan were the stars with bat and ball, opener Smith hitting a career best 67 off 47 balls and left-arm spinner Kerrigan claiming 3-17 from four overs in his second 20-over appearance.
“We’ve started the competition off very well,” said left-handed Smith, whose rich vein of form continued after he hit 44 in the opening night win against Durham Dynamos on Friday night.
“We had a very good year last year apart from a dodgy bowl out, and we have carried that on this year. We have gone from strength to strength. We executed our game plans superbly, and have put a marker down in this group.
“Hopefully we can put on a show again on Friday, but if we stick to our basics we won’t go far wrong.”
Lancashire, who elected to bat, reached 50 after eight overs for the loss of Paul Horton, and Smith reached his second Twenty20 career fifty off 32 balls in the next over. The 24 year-old later scooped Chaminda Vaas for four, but fell the next ball to leave the score at 101-2 in the 15th.
Smith was stumped off a Vaas wide by Niall O’Brien, and was followed back to the pavilion by Simon Katich (26) in the same over when he was bowled by the veteran Sri Lankan left-arm seamer.
Smith and Katich had shared 69 for the second wicket in ten overs before Stephen Moore and Steven Croft united for an entertaining fourth wicket partnership of 39 in just short of four overs.
Croft was bowled off a Hall no ball on 17 in the 18th, and his attempt at a maximum off the free hit fell just short, being 'caught' at deep square leg.
But Croft presented Vaas with his third wicket when he found Nicky Boje at deep mid-wicket in the next, the penultimate over of the innings. Vaas was the pick of the Northants bowling with 3-32 from his four. Moore finished 27 not out off 16 balls.
Smith, who also scored a hundred in the Roses Championship clash at Headingley last week following a lean run in the four-day arena, commented: “I have gone out there and played with confidence.”
Northants openers Loye and Vincent got their side’s reply off to a flying start at 23-0 after two overs, with Loye switch-hitting Kerrigan for two fours in the second over of the innings.
Vincent, who spent the latter half of the 2008 season at Old Trafford, has signed for the Steelbacks for ten days before Zimbabwean Elton Chigumbura arrives.
But Vincent fell to Sajid Mahmood in the third over before Loye (22) was the first of the six wickets to fall when he was well caught by Moore at mid-wicket off Glen Chapple. Hall fell in the same over, Alex Wakely was bowled by Stephen Parry and Boje brilliantly run out by a direct Mark Chilton hit with only one stump to am at.
Kerrigan then had Paul Harrison caught behind and Vaas caught at mid-wicket in the tenth over before O’Brien (19) reverse swept him to Chilton at short third man to leave the score at 69-8 in the 12th.
David Willey was then caught at short third-man by Kerrigan off Parry (2-12 from four) and Lee Daggett was bowled by Croft to end proceedings with 13 balls to spare.
Lancashire face Leicestershire Foxes at Old Trafford on Friday when New Zealander Nathan McCullum should make his debut.
Smith added: “Nathan is to come into the team, and we have Jimmy Anderson for a couple of games (Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire on Sunday and Tuesday). It will be interesting to see what team we put out.”
Graham Hardcastle at Old Trafford
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd