Arron Lilley, Kabir Ali and Ashwell Prince were the stars of a slick Lancashire performance in the Yorkshire Bank 40 tonight as Derbyshire were sent packing by six wickets with 26 balls to spare at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Lightning boosted their hopes of a semi-final spot for the second year on the trot by chasing down 191 with ease after restricting the Falcons to 190-9 after they had elected to bat first.
Four wickets apiece for Lilley and Ali set the Lightning up for their fourth Group B won on the spin before Prince helped to seal the two points with an excellent 80 not out off 75 balls, his third fifty this year to add to a hundred.
Lancashire now head north of the border to face Scotland at Glasgow on Thursday afternoon. If they win that, they will really put pressure on the leading pack ahead of their last two home matches against Hampshire Royals and Essex Eagles.
“It was a good effort in the field,” said left-handed Prince, who came in at number three. “The ball seemed to be doing a bit, and they struggled to get it away. It was nice to get off to a good start, and Arron bowled his overs quite nicely.
“It’s been going well in this competition for me. It happens like that sometimes. You get on a roll in a particular comp, and let’s hope it continues.”
Lilley, bowling his first spell in this competition despite debuting last year, took four of the first six wickets to fall with his off-spinners, including two in three balls in the 25th over.
Wayne Madsen and David Wainwright then posted career best scores of 78 and 40 as they shared 80 in 12.3 overs for the seventh wicket before Ali struck twice in the final over of the innings to prevent the Falcons getting up beyond 200.
Lilley returned figures of 4-30 from seven overs and Ali 4-37 from eight. They were in-form Ali’s were his best figures in six years, and further confirmed an exceptional start to his Lightning career with the white ball.
Lilley was the man who did the bulk of the early damage. He bowled Paul Borrington, had Ben Slater neatly stumped by Gareth Cross and then had Alex Hughes caught at mid-wicket and Tom Poynton caught behind in the space of three balls to leave the visitors six down.
Madsen and Wainwright rebuilt the innings before the former cut Ali to backward point in the 38th over. He then removed Wainwright and Tim Groenewald in the final over to add to the early wicket of Chesney Hughes.
Madsen had been dropped on 12 by Ali after colliding with substitute fielder Karl Brown as the pair converged on a high catch from mid-on and mid-off.
Stephen Moore and Tom Smith shared 53 for Lancashire’s first wicket before falling to Wes Durston’s off-spin to leave the score at 86-2 in the 17th.
Simon Katich and Steven Croft also later fell to Madsen and Tim Groenewald, but they were more consolatory wickets after Prince had done the damage. Jordan Clark finished the match off with successive sixes.
Prince will play cricket for the first time in Glasgow on Thursday having been up north to fulfill his other passion a few times. He knows the Saltires can’t be underestimated.
“We are going up there to play them in their back yard, and we can’t underestimate anybody. They will want to prove to everyone that they can take somebody down,” he added. “I’ve been to Scotland a few times before to watch the Open golf, but never to play cricket.”
Picture (c) Simon Pendrigh