Record breaker Tom Smith's super all-round display played a major part as Lancashire ended their Clydesdale Bank 40 campaign on a high with a thrilling victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge
The 25 year-old left-handed opener hit 16 fours and a six in a superb 104-ball 117 as the Lightning, whose captain Steven Croft elected to bat first, posted a competitive 248-5.
He then claimed the four wickets of Steven Mullaney, Ali Brown, Riki Wessels and Graeme White to become the first man in Lancashire’s history to score a hundred and take four wickets in the same one-day match.
But the visitors fought their way back well from 66-3 and 153-5 to make the contest a cracker.
An eye-catching run-a-ball 62 from West Indian overseas left-hander Darren Bravo, who bares more than a passing resemblance to Brian Lara at the crease, kept the hosts in touch until he fell in the 25th over.
But, just when it looked like the Lightning would win by a bigger margin, the Outlaws hit back as captain Chris Read chimed in with 64 off 50 balls to set the nerves jangling in the visiting camp.
He got the target down to 28 off three overs, 17 off two and eight off the last.
But Kyle Hogg bowled a superb final six balls, which included a handful of expertly delivered yorkers and the wickets of Read and Brett Hutton.
It meant that Notts needed to hit the last ball of the match for four to secure a tie, which would have been Lancashire’s second in three days in both forms of one-day cricket.
As it was, Notts finished on 246-9 and Lancashire claimed their sixth win from 12 Group C matches, securing fourth place in the group to boot.
“It was amazing to get my first one-day century today, especially after the way we went out of the T20 finals day on Saturday,” said Smith. “We wanted to come back strong, and we did by winning in a tight finish.
“I have struggled a bit with the ball this season, especially in one-day cricket, so I am really pleased. Days don’t get much better than this in cricket, although it would have been nice to get five wickets!”
Smith, particularly strong playing the reverse sweep, scored runs all around the wickets as he allied boundary hitting with finding the gaps.
He shared stands of 28 for the first wicket with Stephen Moore, 101 inside 16 overs for the second with Croft, 37 for the third with Karl Brown and 38 for the fourth with Paul Horton.
Horton finished unbeaten on 43 off 40 balls, hitting a four through the covers and a six over mid-wicket off the last two balls of the innings, bowled by debutant seamer Hutton.
Lancashire were flying with Smith and Croft together following Moore’s early departure, well caught at mid-off by retiring Brown off Darren Pattinson’s bowling.
Even though Croft only hit three boundaries in his 32 off 40 balls, he and Smith had given their side a platform to reach a score in the region of 275 and maybe even 300.
But the introduction of left-arm spinner White slowed things down somewhat even though his eight overs cost him 49 runs.
The medium pace of Mullaney also played a part, and he had Croft caught at short third-man by Franks and bowled best mate Brown on the way to figures of 2-42.
But Horton hustled well as he continued his fine form in this competition to take his side to a total that proved to be a match-winning one on a good pitch.
While Smith will take all the plaudits, some tight bowling from left-arm spinners Stephen Parry and Kerrigan was instrumental in Lancashire defending their total.
Parry claimed the big wicket of Bravo, trapped lbw. And that left the score at 153-5 in the 25th over, with the hosts needing a further 96.
The fourth wicket to fall, that of Scott Elstone to Hogg, had been courtesy of a catch for star man Smith at long-on.
Parry (2-31 from eight) picked up his second wicket when a diving Croft pouched a miscue from Paul Franks at cover in the 29th over.
Smith had Mullaney superbly caught by Kerrigan running back from mid-off, he had the retiring Brown caught behind down the leg-side by Gareth Cross, trapped Wessels lbw and later bowled White before the drama at the death.
Hogg finished with 3-63 from his eight overs.
“It has been a very good one-day campaign,” added Smith. “We reached Finals Day in the Twenty20 – and, although we have had a couple of ups and downs in the CB40, we came back strong at the end.
“As a team I think we have been very good in one-day cricket this season.”
Photo (c) PA Images
Article (c) Lancashire County Cricket Club