Lancashire Lightning's hopes of a trophy charge in the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition are slipping away after a third defeat in four matches against holders Sussex Sharks at Hove today.
Lancashire suffered a middle order collapse in pursuit of 246 and a second Group A success despite having been well placed at 100-2 in their chase. They subsided to 205 all out inside 38 overs, with Kyle Hogg unable to bat after dislocating the little finger on his right hand whilst fielding.
“We’ve lost three out of four now,” said coach Peter Moores after the 40-run defeat. “It probably means that we’ve got to win all of our remaining games. We certainly can’t afford to lose many, if any, more.”
A brilliant career best 91 off 65 balls from wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd had helped the South Coast side recover from 144-5 in the 28th over after Murray Goodwin had won the toss and elected to bat.
Left-arm spinner Stephen Parry had claimed two of the first five wickets to put the hosts under pressure, but Hodd and Robin Martin-Jenkins shared a damaging sixth wicket stand of 86 in ten overs.
They took 41 runs off the four overs of batting powerplay between overs 35-39, and Hodd also hit five boundaries off Glen Chapple in the 37th over to put Sussex within sight of reaching 250.
Opener Matt Prior had hit 36 off 39 balls at the top of the order, while Martin-Jenkins chipped in with a useful run-a-ball 32 at the end.
Moores continued: “There were no complaints about the effort and commitment we put in, we just got beaten by the better side on the day. Credit to Sussex and to Hodd because they played well.”
It was Martin-Jenkins who did the damage to Hogg’s finger when the bowler tried to stop a fierce drive in his follow through after bowling.
Moores said of Hogg’s injury: “I’ve just spoken to the physio. It’s badly dislocated. They’re going to do another x-ray to check that there’s no break and it’s settled in the right place, but the initial report we’ve had from Sam (Byrne, physio) is more positive than we first thought.
“He’ll see a hand surgeon in the morning. Hopefully it settles itself down, and is nothing major.”
Paul Horton with 30, Stephen Moore (25) and 32 from Croft had then given the Lancashire innings plenty of impetus at the start of their reply, with Horton scooping James Kirtley for six over fine leg.
But the introduction of spinners Monty Panesar and Ollie Rayner (2-33 from eight) coincided with a damaging 20-minute spell of cricket for the visitors.
The run outs of Croft and Mark Chilton were followed by the stumping of Ashwell Prince, shortly afterwards as he charged down the track to off-spinner Rayner, to leave Lancashire at 117-5 in the 21st.
Lancashire were in deeper trouble with the departure of Glen Chapple at 141-6 in the 29th. Luke Sutton (31 not out) and Parry shared a seventh wicket stand of 50 - but it was too little, too late.
With two of the last three wickets, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan finished with 3-37 from seven overs.
“It was a good wicket, and we got off to a good start,” said Moores. “At 85-1, we were in a really strong position. Unfortunately we had a couple of run outs. The two run outs hurt us. We couldn’t really put as much pressure on their spinners as we wanted to. We got stuck and the chase petered out a little bit.”
Lancashire are next in action when they face Worcestershire at New Road in the same competition next Sunday.
Graham Hardcastle at Hove
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd