Lancashire were beaten for the third successive time in Twenty20 as Notts claimed the honours in a Duckworth-Lewis affected game at Trent Bridge.
The Lightning were rightly confident having posted an imposing 178-4 from their 20 overs before the third of three rain delays arrived with the hosts at 7-0 from one over of their reply.
When the rain stopped, allowing a re-start just before 9.30pm, DL had revised the Outlaws’ target to 49 from five overs, meaning another 42 off four.
And, although Stephen Parry had Alex Hales caught at cover by Karl Brown and Tom Smith had Michael Lumb caught behind by Gareth Cross, it was not enough to arrest their run of losses, which has left their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals in the balance.
Lancashire now need to win their last two North Division matches, starting with Roses rivals Yorkshire at Old Trafford on Friday, to have any chance of a last eight berth for the sixth year running.
“We’re very disappointed,” admitted stand-in captain Steven Croft, who replaced injured Glen Chapple (tight side).
“We thought we’d got a really good total. DL was slightly in the chasers’ favour with them getting two overs of powerplay out of the five. It was tough on us, but I don’t think we nailed down our bowling as we’d have liked.
“Conditions were tough for batting and bowling, but they batted well at the end.
“We had some good momentum, and it would have been a really good game at 20 overs per side. We were quietly confident. But we can’t really mope around now. We’ve got to pick ourselves up because we’ve got a massive game against Yorkshire on Friday, which we have to win now.”
Stephen Moore, Tom Smith and Croft were the stars of Lancashire’s impressive batting display in tough conditions to execute all disciplines. While batsmen had to navigate early swing and seam, the bowlers and fielders had to contend with a wet ball.
Moore smashed 80 off 58 balls, including eight fours and a six, to post his highest score of the season so far in any competition. Smith added 56 off 41 balls, including six fours and two sixes, as the pair added a record-breaking 119 for the first wicket in 14 overs.
It was the Lightning’s highest ever opening partnership in the ten-year history of Twenty20 cricket before Croft added some late impetus with an unbeaten 30 off 15 balls as 50 runs came from the last five overs.
Rain had delayed the start by 35 minutes and then briefly returned during Lancashire’s innings. After the third delay, Lumb crashed 22 off 12 balls and Rikki Wessels 21 not out off just eight deliveries.
Eighteen runs coming off Yasir Arafat’s over, the third of the innings, proved crucial as Notts leap-frogged Yorkshire at the top of the table.
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd