Stephen Moore hailed a great team effort after Lancashire Lightning won a thrilling t20 'Roses' encounter at Old Trafford.
Lancashire strengthened their chances of reaching the quarter finals of the Friends Provident t20 when they beat Yorkshire Carnegie by five wickets and with just six balls to spare in a thrilling contest on Friday evening.
The home side's total of 163 for five is the highest they have recorded to win a t20 match batting second on the ground and it represented a superb run chase which never lost the momentum it had acquired when Stephen Moore blasted 59 off just 32 balls, hitting ten fours and a six and taking 16 runs off Steven Patterson's first over of the innings.
This level of entertainment was maintained throughout the rest of the Lightning's reply, so it was perhaps scarcely surprising that the strident hum of the vuvuzelas could be heard as the crowd waited on the Metrolink station at the end of the game.
Moore's savage assault on the Yorkshire bowling was followed by two equally valuable contributions as Steven Croft made 36 off 28 balls and Paul Horton completed the victory with a boundary off Steven Patterson. The 27-year-old finished with 37 off 30 balls and there was really no time in their pursuit when Lancashire were seriously behind the run rate required.
Richard Pyrah was the most successful bowler, taking three for 33, and Clint McKay did a good containing job to finish with one for 27 from his four overs, but the other members of the Yorkshire attack came in for serious punishment.
"It doesn't get much better than that, beating Yorkshire on your home patch in front of a full house," said Moore. "It was a fantastic effort to restrict them like we did in the second half of their innings. In all, it was truly a team effort and it stand us in good stead for the rest of the competition
"It was a big total to chase down on this ground, but it was a good wicket and we had some momentum from the second half of their innings."
Moore's analysis underpins the fact that Lancashire batsmen had completed a job begun by the Lightning's bowlers in the final stages of the Yorkshire innings. The 29-year-old's comments also reflect something of the noisy atmosphere at Old Trafford on an evening which seemed to capture the very best that Twenty20 cricket has to offer.
The fact that the queues to get into Old Trafford rivalled those outside the X-Factor auditions a few miles away told its own story. The appeal of starting the weekend with a t20 Roses Match was such that extra stands had to be built in order to accommodate the paying public.
The crowd eventually numbered 13, 500 and the happy, raucous throng had plenty to cheer in Yorkshire Carnegie's innings of 162 for seven off 20 overs. This was a decent total but it also represented a terrific fightback by Lancashire's bowlers and fielders after Andrew Gale's batsmen had raced to 119 for two in 13 overs, at which point they seemed set to rack up a score in excess of 180.
Visitors from across the Pennines will have particularly enjoyed Herschelle Gibbs's 51 off 36 balls, although by the time the No3 came to the crease, openers Adam Lyth and Gale had already put on 21 in 19 balls.
Lyth and Gibbs then added 50 in just 29 balls with Lyth hitting Saj Mahmood for a massive six over midwicket. Lyth made 36 off 22 balls before he was caught by midwicket Nathan McCullum off Stephen Parry Throughout the innings, Lancashire's catching was magnificent. Not for nothing have Glen Chapple's players claimed that they are the best fielding side in the land. Not for nothing have pundits identified the role of the Red Rose spinners bowling with long boundaries and backed up by athletic fielding as being key to Lancashire's success in Twenty20.
Simon Kerrigan took the first outstanding catch when he ran back from mid-on to get rid of Gale off the bowling of Saj Mahmood for nine. Six other snares were to follow: the least of them was very competent, and that by McCullum to get rid of Jonathan Bairstow, truly brilliant as the New Zealander raced in about 30 yards from deep square leg. That was McCullum's third catch of the evening; the other two had been taken off Parry, who returned from England Lions duty to take three for 17 in four expertly controlled overs.
Eleven of Lancashire's allocation were bowled by spinners and they played a major role in checking the charge of the Yorkshire batsmen. Although all five of the visitors' middle order reached double figures, none could exceed Jacques Rudolph's 16 and Carnegie lost five wickets for only 32 runs in thir last five overs. Three of these fell in the final over bowled by Sajid Mahmood, who finished with three for 30 and ran out Clint McKay off the final delivery of the innings.
The other wicket was claimed by Simon Kerrigan who had Anthony McGrath pouched by Mahmood at long on for 10. Tom Smith was wicketless but his three overs cost 19 runs, a niggardly spell in these inflationary days.
Paul Edwards at Old Trafford
Photos: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd