Steven Croft set down a pretty high marker for catch of the season with a one-handed stunner in Lancashire Lightning's opening Twenty20 Cup six-wicket win over Yorkshire Carnegie at Old Trafford.
The all-rounder, who later hit 21 off nine balls, helped to dismiss former England captain Michael Vaughan (36) as he leapt backwards at deep mid-wicket, pouching the ball in mid-air off the bowling of Stephen Parry.
You will struggle to see a better one, without a doubt, with Croft explaining: “It was a bit of a blur. I thought that it was going over my head at first. I got my hand to it, and thought ‘hopefully I can hold onto this’.
“I whacked my head, I went a bit blurry, but I don’t think that I will better that. I think that it’s instinct. You can reach a bit further with your top hand. I wouldn’t last the season if I practised them. It was one of those that just stuck. It worked for me on the day.”
Spin certainly did the trick for Lancashire because six out of the eight Yorkshire wickets fell to Francois du Plessis, debutant Parry, 3-20 from four, and Gary Keedy (2-23).
The White Rose managed just 105-8 from their 20 overs – captain Glen Chapple claimed the other two wickets – and the Lightning easily chased down the runs for the loss of just four wickets.
They had been reduced to 41-3 in the sixth over, but 44 off 36 balls from South African Ashwell Prince (left) helped to seal the two points with 27 balls to spare.
Prince, a veteran of 48 Test matches, has only played 13 Twenty20 matches in his career. He scooped the Man of the Match award after sharing a fourth wicket stand of 60 with Tom Smith who batted through the innings to finish 22 not out.
“Everyone knows that spin is hard to get away, and we will be seeing a lot of them in this competition,” continued Croft, who hit four boundaries in his brief innings. “Stephen Parry on his debut bowled very calmly for his three wickets.”
Croft added: “We have been saying this is almost a new start to the season. We have nailed the Friends Provident Trophy and the four-dayers, so it’s good to get off with a comprehensive win in this.
“We have got another game on Thursday before we go over to Headingley on Friday. Hopefully we can get all wins this week, which would obviously be very good for us.”
Photos: Simon Pendrigh - top picture: Steven Croft is mobbed by jubiliant team-mates after his stunning catch.
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd