Lancashire's hopes of Yorkshire Bank 40 success suffered a sizeable blow at the hands of Durham Dynamos today at the Emirates Durham ICG, a match which they lost by 39 runs.
The hosts posted a record-breaking 297-9 from their 40 overs and the Lightning replied with 258 all out inside 37 overs.
But it was good to see new signing Kabir Ali make his first XI debut for the county after injury. Ali, 32-years-old, signed on at Emirates Old Trafford from Hampshire during the winter, but a right knee injury ruled him out of the start of the season.
The ex-Worcestershire, Hampshire and England pace bowler took the new ball after Simon Katich had elected to bowl first and returned figures of 2-50 from his eight overs before hitting a lusty 59 off 29 balls as Lancashire attempted to pull the game out of the fire having been 44-4, 162-8 and 207-9 in pursuit.
Ali trapped Ryan Pringle lbw with a in-swinging yorker and had Gordon Muchall caught by Stephen Parry at short fine-leg for 48 at the death. He helped drag things back somewhat because at one stage Durham were looking likely to get closer to 320.
Ashwell Prince’s 22 had helped the visitors get off to a bright start in their chase at 29-0 in the fifth over, but Graham Onions (4-45) took three of four wickets to fall for 15 runs inside five overs as Lancashire stuttered.
Another positive saw Jordan Clark top-score with an excellent career best 72 off 62 balls - his maiden List A fifty - and Gareth Cross (36) also entertained with the bat before Ali hit four fours and five sixes as he brought up his fifty off just 22 balls.
Lancashire, who were put under the cosh by fast Durham start with the bat, were then hamstrung by the loss of regular wickets as scoreboard pressure told.
“Peter Moores actually came up with a stat that at seven wickets down, we were actually one run ahead of them,” said Clark, who hit ten fours and a six. “It just shows that if we had wickets in hand, we could have raced it.
“When you’re 40-4, it’s not easy looking at a big target of 290-odd, so we had to set small targets. It wasn’t easy, but Gareth Cross came in and smacked a quick 40 and Kabir did really well at the end there too.
“It made the total a lot more chaseable, but unfortunately we fell just short.”
Captain Mark Stoneman, who top-scored with 85 off 87 balls, including ten fours and a six, and fellow left-hander Phil Mustard ensured Durham raced out of the blocks with a stand of 126 inside 15 overs for the first wicket.
Mustard hit Clark for five fours in the tenth over of the innings to bring up a 37-ball fifty. He finished with 65 off 47 balls as Durham posted their highest ever List A score in fixtures between the two sides.
At 140-1 in the 19th over, Durham looked set to exceed 300 in good batting conditions. But they lost wickets a bit too regularly as well, including their last five for 45 to slip from 248-4 to 293-9 in the last over of the innings, which included two each for Ali and White and one apiece for Kyle Hogg, Parry and Croft.
Prince and Stephen Moore both fell to catches off Onions at mid-on and mid-off respectively before Karl Brown was bowled by Chris Rushworth and Katich bowled by Onions in the early stages of the ninth over.
Croft was caught behind to hand Onions his fourth wicket as the score slipped to 80-5 at the start of the 17th, and he joined Prince and Moore as players to fall to the first ball of an Onions over.
Cross and Clark then shared 48 in six overs for the sixth wicket before the former holed out to Onions at long-on off Stokes’s medium pace in the 23rd over for 36 - the score at 129-6.
Clark continued to attack, scoring boundaries on both sides of the wicket. And sandwiched in between the departures of White to Collingwood (caught at long-on) and Kyle Hogg to Mark Wood (bowled), he reached his fifty off 50 balls with seven fours.
Clark then holed out off Ben Stokes trying to find the boundary for a 12th time in all before Ali took up the attack with a barrage of fours and sixes, reaching his fifty with a six before being bowled by Stokes to end the contest.
Photo of Jordan Clark (c) Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images