Lancashire got back to winning ways in the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition against Worcestershire at Old Trafford today as rain played its part.
The Lightning, first chasing 260 and then a revised target of 131 in 19 overs, won by 12 runs on Duckworth Lewis to move into second place in Group A.
Steven Croft’s side bounced back from last week’s nail-biting defeat against the Netherlands to win for the third time in four matches as they chase top spot and guaranteed qualification for September’s semi-finals.
They survived centuries from Pears’ pair Vikram Solanki and Australian Phil Hughes, who had shared a record-breaking stand of 208 for the second wicket to put their side in the ascendancy at 212-1 in the 35th over. But the visitors suffered an incredible collapse of eight wickets for 47 runs in just 33 balls to close on 259-9.
Lancashire reached 69-1 from 11.4 overs in their pursuit when the rain arrived, which meant they needed another 62 off 7.2 when play re-started to reach their revised target.
Stephen Moore, who recorded his fourth successive half-century in this competition, had posted 52 when the first batch of rain came at 5.35pm. And when played resumed at 7pm for only 15 minutes, he took his score to 60 not out off 52 balls.
The match ended with the Lightning at at 95-1 from 14.1 overs, with Croft also contributing an important unbeaten 19 off 14 balls after he had started the match by winning the toss and electing to bowl first.
Red Rose coach Peter Moores said: “For us it was a good performance because we knew there was a chance of rain, which came, and we managed to stay ahead of Duckworth Lewis and get home. It's always a bit messy when there's showers around.
“I think we did well today. Two guys got hundreds, but we stuck to the task. All the bowlers bowled really well and we fielded well to keep it down to a manageable score. We could have been chasing something in excess of 280.
“You need to play well in this competition. We know historically that you can't afford to lose too many because you've got to top the league. It was a big game for us today because Worcestershire were in a similar position to us. Middlesex on Sunday will be another big game.
“It sets us off on what is a very big week for us with the Championship game against Notts and Middlesex in the CB40 straight on the back of that.”
Solanki and Hughes, who hit 121 off 107 balls and 104 off 111 respectively, shared the Royals‘ highest ever partnership for the second wicket in any form of List A cricket. The partnership beat an unbroken 204 shared between Tom Moody and Graeme Hick in a competitive match against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo whilst on pre-season tour in 1991.
Ajmal Shahzad took four wickets in eight balls, including three wickets in the last over. The fast bowler, whose final over actually included four wickets due to the run out of Shaaiq Choudhry, finished with 4-51 from eight overs. He bowled James Cameron in the 38th over before getting Hughes caught behind, Ben Scott lbw and Alexei Kervezee caught at backward point off the outside edge.
Sajid Mahmood also finished with 2-50 from seven, taking a wicket at either end of the innings, while left-arm spinners Gary Keedy and Stephen Parry took one apiece.
Moore then played powerfully down the ground and over cover as he added to scores of 74, 62 and 77 this summer. Ashwell Prince was the only Red Rose wicket to fall when he was bowled attempting to sweep Moeen Ali’s off-spin
“Stephen’s played beautifully,” said Moores. “I think anybody who's watched Lancashire over the last couple of years knows he's a very powerful striker up front. His emergence as a one-day player has come a bit later in his career. At Worcester he wasn't known for that. Now he's a very powerful striker. He's hard to bowl at it.
“When we came out to bat, we just looked to play positive cricket because, in some ways, that's the way to not get out. As it got closer and darker, you can't really help thinking 'we can't afford to lose a wicket now'. Just before we came off for rain, there was an over where we played a bit more conservatively. Then, when we came back out, the goal was to try and stay ahead of the rate.”
Photo of Stephen Moore (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd