Lancashire's stand-in skipper Mark Chilton has described the eight wicket Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat against Surrey Lions at Old Trafford today as embarrassing.
The Lightning’s chances of progressing from Group A are hanging by the thinnest of threads following their fourth defeat in six Group A matches, confirmed by Steven Davies with 97 balls to spare.
Lancashire, without rested duo Glen Chapple and Sajid Mahmood, were hamstrung by the loss of five early wickets as they slipped to 39-5 in the 12th over after Chilton had won the toss and elected to bat.
Chilton and Luke Sutton shared a sixth wicket stand of 108 in 23 overs, recording 68 off 78 and 47 off 68 respectively, but the hosts lost four wickets in the batting powerplay late in their innings to ensure they were bowled out for 165.
Spells of 3-29 from eight overs for visiting pair Andre Nel and Jade Dernbach had done the damage, but opening batsmen Rory Hamilton-Brown and Davies will take all the headlines because they underpinned their chase with a blistering first wicket stand of 113 inside 15 overs.
Davies top scored with an unbeaten 82 off 69 balls, while Hamilton-Brown also took advantage of what Chilton described as “a great pitch” with 65 off 46 balls.
Chilton said: “It was pretty embarrassing while I was out there to be honest, I can’t remember one as bad as that. You don’t go out there to perform poorly, but it is not nice when you score under par and they come out and smash it to all parts. It makes you look a bit silly, and we feel a bit bad for the people who came to watch us.
“It was a hugely disappointing day. Some days just go like that, but it isn’t much of an excuse. They played better than us, and we were comprehensively beaten.”
Chris Tremlett had sparked the Lightning’s early collapse when he trapped Tom Smith lbw in the second over. Paul Horton was then caught behind off Nel before Dernbach grabbed his first fortuitously in the tenth.
Ashwell Prince was caught at third-man by Usman Afzaal with the ball coming off the back of the bat as the left-hander tried to play through the leg side.
And, when Steven Croft was run out in the next, Lancashire were 33-4. Stephen Moore then dragged a Dernbach slower ball onto his stumps to leave them five down in the 12th.
Chilton and Sutton then united for their sixth wicket stand of 108, with Chilton strong on the reverse sweep as he recorded his first one-day 50 for just over a year, hitting 68 off 78 balls. Sutton was also happy to accumulate the ones and twos in making 47 from 68 balls
But Chilton being bowled by Nel in the 35th was the first of four wickets to fall in the four overs of batting powerplay with Dernbach getting Kyle Hogg caught behind by Davies. Stephen Parry was involved in the run out of Sutton before he was caught behind off Nel in the same over.
And Daren Powell holed out to long-on off the bowling of Tremlett (2-31 from 7.3) to complete Lancashire’s innings with three balls to spare.
It was soon pretty clear, however, that Chilton’s and Sutton’s efforts would prove to be fruitless because Hamilton-Brown, whose second career one-day 50 was also his second against Lancs this season, and Davies set off like a train in reply. Their dominance was highlighted when they took the batting powerplay with the score at 91-0 after 12.
Lancashire’s only successes with the ball were when Smith bowled Hamilton-Brown off his pads and Croft’s off spin forced Laurie Evans to sweep to Jimmy Anderson at short fine-leg.
Chilton said: “We didn’t deal with the pitch early on, and it surprised us. It looked like a great pitch, but there just seemed to be a little bit early on which we struggled to deal with.
“We knew the only way to stay in the game was if we did well right the way up to 40. We had a poor powerplay. If we’d have maximised our powerplay and got to 200-210, then maybe got a couple of early wickets, we fancied it.
“The only way we were going to win it with the score we had was to knock over three or four early. It didn’t happen.”
Despite this disappointment, the Red Rose are back in action tomorrow morning when they take on Essex in the LV= County Championship at Old Trafford searching for their fourth win from six.
Chilton added: “It’s difficult after a loss like this because you feel pretty flat and embarrassed, but it’s big game for us. When they come so thick and fast, you’ve got to keep fronting up. It’s a massive week for us.”
Graham Hardcastle at Old Trafford
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd