Lancashire Lightning began their pre-season Pro ARCH Trophy campaign in perfect fashion with a comprehensive win over Sussex Sharks at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
A lot has changed for the Red Rose county since the end of 2008, but one thing that has not is Paul Horton’s ability to score runs. The 26 year-old amassed a sparkling 123-ball 122 as the Lightning posted a formidable 298 all out. [Scorecard]
This may have been a belter of a pitch at the venue posted in the middle of the Arabian Desert, but scoreboard pressure proved too much for the Hove side as they subsided to 252 all out. Lancashire won by 46 runs.
New captain Glen Chapple won the toss and elected to bat first, and it was not long before Horton arrived at the crease because Karl Brown was caught at mid-off off the bowling of Robin Martin-Jenkins in just the second over.
Horton has perhaps been pigeon-holed as a County Championship specialist after top scoring for the county in each of the last two seasons, but this effort demonstrated that the Liverpool-based player has much to offer in other formats. Kyle Hogg impressed in an unusual opening role, hitting 35 off his 37 balls, while Mark Chilton also staked his claim for more one-day action with 59 off 63 balls.
Hogg, who opened a little bit in club cricket last season, said: “I only found out that I was doing it on Wednesday night. Peter just told me to go out and enjoy it, see where it takes me. I wish I could do it all the time because I absolutely loved it. Opening is certainly better than coming in late on down the order when you have to just smash it. From what he has said, Peter is quite keen on a left-hand, right-hand partnership at the top of the order.
"With the field up, I was quite happy to go over the top. It was nipping around early on, but I am perhaps a little more suited to doing that kind of role now. I have had a looked at things over the winter, and if I play my natural game then I will be able to play out some dot balls and then hit two or three boundaries in the next over to keep the scoring rate up.”
Horton cracked 14 boundaries before he was caught on the sweep at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Mike Yardy. Luke Sutton hit 19 off 24 balls, while Chapple hit 17 off 16.
“One of his aims is to play more one-day cricket,” said director of cricket Mike Watkinson of Horton. “He will be delighted to have put a marker down to with a century to start the new season. There are different pressures in these matches, but still it is about spending time in the middle and building a one-day innings.”
Hogg then continued his encouraging day with the new white ball to put Sussex on the ropes by claiming the wickets of Ed Joyce and Rory Hamilton-Brown, both caught behind by Luke Sutton. Sandwiched in between was the fortunate run out of Chris Nash, who was sent back to the pavilion by Steven Cheetham’s deflection onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Sussex were 51-3 in the tenth over.
Yardy and Carl Hopkinson (46) shared a fourth wicket partnership of 93 to get the Sharks back in contention - but when Yardy, who hit a fine 82 off 84 balls, became Parry’s third victim, the game was virtually done.
Sussex were 195-6 in the 37th, while Parry (3-40 from nine overs) had earlier bowled Hopkinson and wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd. Hogg (3-41 from eight) returned to have Robin Martin-Jenkins caught by captain Chapple at wide mid-on, while Tom Smith had Ollie Raynor stumped and Rageb Aga well caught by Parry at long-on.
Gary Keedy had Chris Liddle caught behind as the last wicket, with Watkinson adding: “I thought there was some very good cricket played, but as always you are not going to get everything 100 percent to your liking.”
For the Match Scorecard, click here.
Photo: Matt Jackson
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd