A blazing opening partnership between Steven Davies and Rory Hamilton-Brown went a long way to condemning Lancashire to a gripping two-wicket Duckworth-Lewis defeat in their Clydesdale Bank 40 opener against Surrey at Whitgift School on Sunday.
Lightning opener Stephen Moore had recorded a superb maiden century for the county as he helped post 290-6, but Hamilton-Brown and Davies were making the target look small as they peppered the small boundaries with regularity on the way to a stand of 133 inside 15 overs.
Bad light was a major factor as Lancashire dragged things back spectacularly, but the hosts, who slipped from 209-2 in the 27th over to 269-7 in the penultimate, reached their revised target of 283 from 39 overs with a ball to spare.
“We didn’t quite put it in in the field, although it was a tiny ground and difficult to defend a total on there,” said Moore, who hit three of the 22 sixes in the match. “I think we were going to bat second if we had the opportunity, and we are slightly disappointed.”
The ex-Worcestershire man had seemingly given Lancashire the advantage as he became only the third man to score a hundred on one-day debut for the Red Rose. His 118 off 96 balls, including 14 fours and three sixes, was also a career best.
Surrey captain Hamilton-Brown had won the toss and invited Lancashire to bat, and Moore was given able assistance by Ashwell Prince’s 48, Steven Croft’s 44 and a late 32 off 13 balls from Mark Chilton who was leading the Lightning in place of rested Glen Chapple.
Lancashire’s innings included eleven sixes, and four of those went to Chilton as he took 24 off Stuart Meaker in the penultimate over of the innings.
Moore, batting at No.3, shared 63 for the second wicket with Tom Smith, 89 for the third with Prince and 87 for the fourth with Croft. He was finally caught at long-off by Matthew Spriegel off the bowling of Pakistani Rao Iftikhar Anjum in the 37th over.
Lancashire’s other debut centurions in one-day cricket were Peter Marner in 1963 and Andrew Symonds in 2005.
Davies made 59 off 43 balls - but 22 year-old Hamilton-Brown hit five sixes in a career-best 64-ball 92, clinching the man of the match award in the process.
Moore commented on the light: “If I was playing in a Championship game, I would have been blinking a bit at the umpire, but I was able to pick the ball up in the outfield. It was gloomy, but as long as it’s not dangerous you should play.”
Unfortunately for Lancashire, they could not defend the14 runs required off the last two overs and five off the last. Rao Iftikhar hit the winning runs from the penultimate ball.
Moore added: “I enjoyed the hundred at the time, but it loses some of its appeal after a loss.”
Graham Hardcastle at Whitgift
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(C) Lancashire CCC Ltd