Steven Croft hailed it a "great couple of days for the club" as Lancashire built on their battling draw with Warwickshire in the LV= County Championship with victory over Essex Eagles in the CB40 at Old Trafford today
Croft, Paul Horton and Stephen Moore all scored half-centuries as Lancashire made it two wins out of two in Group A with a 28-run triumph. Just 24 hours earlier, Horton made an unbeaten 137 and shared a 139-run stand with Gareth Cross to help Lancashire avoid defeat at Edgbaston.
“It was a great performance on Saturday, and now we have won our opening two games in the CB40 against sides who are generally good in one-day cricket, so it has been a great couple of days for the club,” said captain Croft.
Moore made 62 and Croft 53 as they put on 111 for the second wicket after Lancashire won the toss against the Eagles. Once they had gone, Horton then picked up where he left off on Saturday with an important 54 off 53 deliveries to help Lightning to 258-9 in their 40 overs. David Masters was the pick of the visitors' bowling attack, taking 4-41.
Sajid Mahmood, Ajmal Shahzad and Oliver Newby - playing his first senior game of the season - all impressed with the new ball as Essex were soon reduced to 56-3. Gary Keedy then dismissed Tom Westley and James Foster - who were looking threatening - and when Michael Comber was run out for a duck in the 28th over, Essex were 139-6 and the game looked over.
But Graham Napier then smashed 50 off 27 balls and Greg Smith 44 from 40 to set up a nail-biter.
Shahzad, however, claimed the prize scalp of Napier with Croft taking a great catch on the boundary, and then Keedy saw off Smith with another good Croft catch to finish with 3-49.
Lancashire secured the two points with 15 deliveries to spare when Tymal Mills was run out off the next ball.
“We started off slowly in the CB40 last year and finished strongly but missed out on the semi-finals, so we know how important it is to start well," said Croft. “It is good to win tight games. We got into the habit of doing that in four-day games last year.
“We have had two tough games and although the Netherlands – who we play next in this competition - have turned a few sides over, we are confident of winning there and then we can try and open up a gap at the top of the table."
*Lancashire's batsman posted a record 40-over total for the second match running. After hitting a record 296 against Leics Foxes at Old Trafford two weeks ago, they made their highest 40-over total against Essex Eagles today. Their 258-9 beat the previous best of 257 scored last season at Essex's Chelmsford ground
Photos (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd