A much changed Lancashire Lightning side comfortably disposed of the Unicorns by nine wickets at Old Trafford today.
Sajid Mahmood, Kyle Hogg, Gary Keedy and Stephen Parry all took two wickets for Lancashire, with Parry’s 2-18 from his eight overs being the pick, as the visitors were bowled out for 143 from 39.4 overs.
Visiting captain Keith Parsons won the toss and elected to bat first in this Group A fixture, but only himself and ex-Glamorgan batsman Michael O’Shea made it beyond 25.
They both added 27, sharing 45 for the fourth wicket after the Unicorns had been reduced to 18-3, while Neil Saker later added 20.
Opener Stephen Moore hit five boundaries in a quick-fire 21 off 12 balls at the top of the chase, but he was the only wicket to fall as Karl Brown and Steven Croft put the finishing touches to a victory with 80 balls to spare.
Brown hit a career best 65 not out off 80 balls, including five fours and two sixes, to follow up his 56 against the West Indies A side here a few weeks ago. He shared an unbroken second wicket partnership of 99 inside 22 overs with Croft.
Coach Peter Moores said: “It was a good win, a really good win actually. They’re a side that you don’t underestimate because we’ve seen how they played against other sides in the competition.
“We knew we had to play well, and I think we did play well. It was good to see Daren Powell bowl with discipline up front, it was good for Hoggy to have a decent bowl in a first team game.
“With the Twenty20s, we’ve been carrying him around as 12th man a lot lately. Saj also came in and bowled well.
“All in all, it was a good bowling performance. It was then nice for Karl Brown go in there and take his chance. He batted well for a really solid 50.”
Moores made five changes from the team that lost here against Surrey on May 23 when the likes of Ashwell Prince and Jimmy Anderson were in the side. Moores decided to give Luke Procter, Brown, Gareth Cross and Keedy their first 40-over outing of the summer.
Chris Murtagh had hit two boundaries off Hogg in the first over before he holed out to Daren Powell at mid on off the same bowler in the third over of the innings.
Wicketkeeper Josh Knappett was caught at first slip by captain Paul Horton in the fifth to hand Hogg his second wicket before Jackson Thompson was run out by a combination of Procter and Hogg later in the same over.
Parsons and O’Shea started the recovery from 18-3, but everybody else struggled until a ninth wicket stand of 44 between Saker and Chris Brown.
O’Shea was caught by Keedy off Mahmood in the 16th over, an identical dismissal to Murtagh’s, before Parry had Nick Hancock caught behind by Cross to leave the score at 64-5 in the 17th.
Keedy bowled Ed Young around his legs in the 24th before Parry, who struck in his first over, also had Parsons caught behind in the 25th to reduce the visitors to 85-7.
Keedy bowled Glen Querl before Saker and former Lancashire off spinner Brown (19) shared 44 in eleven overs.
Brown was on the Old Trafford books between 1992 and 1997 and plays Minor Counties cricket for Norfolk. He has also played second team cricket for the likes of Glamorgan, Essex, Somerset and Derbyshire.
Brown was stumped by Cross off the medium pace of Procter before Mahmood forced Saker to chop on in the last over.
Moore was caught behind down the leg side by Knappett off the medium pace of Querl to leave the score at 45-1 in the sixth over of the chase, but Brown and Croft eased their side to victory.
Brown dispatched the left arm spin of Young over long on for six in the 18th over and the right hander reached his 50 in identical fashion off the other Brown in the 21st.
A wide from Brown in the 27th over completed the formalities, handing the Red Rose the two points. Croft finished 39 not out off 68 balls, with only two boundaries to his name.
The Lightning have gone above the Unicorns in the Group A table. Their next match is a floodlit affair against Sussex at Old Trafford a week on Tuesday.
Photos: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd