Lancashire reached the quarter finals of the Friends Provident t20 after securing their place in the last eight for the fourth year running
The Lightning raced to an entertaining nine wicket win over North Division leaders Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford tonight and are now gunning for two wins from their final two matches to give themselves a chance of securing a home draw.
Nottinghamshire, who faced trial by spin, could only post 136-7 after David Hussey won the toss and elected to bat first.
But the hosts were forced into chasing a much tougher target of 81 off ten overs, adjusted by the Duckworth-Lewis method, following an hour long rain delay.
Stephen Moore, however, made the task look an easy one with a blistering 51 not out off 24 balls to clinch the points with ten balls to spare.
Moore said: “That’s step one, but now we want to go and get a home quarter final. We like playing here, and it would be nice for the club to get the crowds here.”
Lancashire, who have to finish in the top two places to ensure they will play their quarter final at Old Trafford, travel to play Northants Steelbacks at Wantage Road on Thursday night before completing the group stages with a trip to face Worcestershire Royals at New Road on Sunday.
Two wickets for Nathan McCullum, Tom Smith and Gary Keedy, playing his first game of the season after breaking his right collarbone in pre-season, restricted the visitors.
Alex Hales top scored for Notts with 83 off 61 balls, but nobody else went beyond wicketkeeper Chris Read’s eleven. Hales hit eight fours and one six, but only one more four was hit in the entire innings.
Stand-in captain Mark Chilton had four spinners at his disposal, including Simon Kerrigan and Stephen Parry. He opened the bowling with McCullum and Kerrigan, and McCullum had Ally Brown caught at mid on by Steven Croft with the fourth ball of the match.
The Kiwi off-spinner also had Steven Mullaney caught and bowled, finishing with 2-23 from four overs. Keedy, warmly applauded by the Old Trafford crowd on his return, first ended Chris Read's innings, caught by Moore at deep square leg, before he bowled Hales in the 19th over.
Tom Smith also chipped in with a handy 2-6, from two overs, with Matt Wood and Samit Patel caught at mid wicket and mid on by Chilton and Sajid Mahmood respectively.
Smith and Moore then shared 43 for the first wicket inside five overs in a superb opening stand, but Smith was trapped lbw by England World Twenty20 winner Ryan Sidebottom for 16.
Moore raced out the blocks, hitting sixes over square leg and mid wicket off Darren Pattinson and Dirk Nannes in the first two overs of the reply, but a feature of Lancashire's batting was also the running between the wickets.
Moore hit a 24-ball half century in a win against Yorkshire here last Friday, but bettered it by one ball tonight to kill the contest. Croft (15 not out off 12 balls) hit Graeme White for six over long on to confirm the two points.
A delighted Moore, who has now scored three 50s in the competition, added: “Chasing a total like that in a short number of overs you tend to do it quickly or by the skin of your teeth. It was nice to do it easy tonight.
“Luckily, in the last few games I’ve managed to get the ball in the middle of the bat and hit the ball in the areas that I know I’m strong in.”
Graham Hardcastle at Old Trafford
Photo: Clint Hughes
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd