Skipper Steven Croft hailed Gary Keedy as the ace up his sleeve as the spinner helped Lancashire Lightning to an eight-run victory over Worcs Royals
Keedy, who was named Man of the Match, claimed 3-15 in a match-turning spell in the Friends Life t20 North Group at Old Trafford as Lightning, who posted 154-7 with the bat, restricted the visitors to 146-9.
However, with the Royals making a flying start on 72-3 after just seven overs, it looked at one point as if Lancashire’s total wasn’t enough.
That’s until Croft, captaining his first Twenty20 game in the absence of the injured Glen Chapple, turned back to spin.
Keedy ripped through the Royals, taking the wickets of James Cameron, Aneesh Kapil and Ben Scott, while fellow spinners Stephen Parry, Simon Kerrigan and Croft himself all claimed wickets.
Kyle Hogg took the key wickets of Ali (24) and Alex Kervezee (21), while Gareth Cross made three stumpings.
“Keeds is a massive influence on the squad,” said Croft. “He brings a lot of experience to the team, he does what he does day in, day out and doesn’t seem to change for anyone.
“He does it his own unique way and he is brilliant to have around, especially tonight with me captaining. He was an ace up my sleeve.”
Earlier, having won the toss, Tom Smith and Stephen Moore put on 38 in the opening four overs for Lancashire, with Moore smashing five boundaries.
Paul Horton and Croft then put on 42 for the third wicket in six overs before they both fell to Moeen Ali in the space of three balls.
Royals skipper Daryl Mitchell pulled off a brilliant catch to send Cross back for nine.
Jordan Clark was dropped twice in successive balls in Choudhry’s last over, but he fell two overs later for an attacking 15, bowled by Gareth Andrew.
Luke Procter led a late Lancashire rally, smashing 17 from just seven deliveries before he was bowled by Jack Shantry. And Hogg’s 14 from 12 balls took Lightning over the 150 mark.
“Having looked at the wicket, we knew about 150 would be a competitive total,” said Croft. “It wasn’t a complete performance, there are some areas we can dust up on. However, we had a bit of an inexperienced side out and that didn’t show.”
Lancashire now travel to Leicestershire Foxes on Sunday for their third t20 group game.
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
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