Tight bowling by spinners Simon Kerrigan and Arron Lilley and a well-made 74 from opener Stephen Moore helped Lancashire Lightning to defeat Derbyshire Falcons by 12 runs in the floodlit Friends Life t20 match at Old Trafford on Friday evening.
The young pair returned identical figures of one for 25 from their four overs as Steven Croft's side restricted the visitors to 153 for six in reply to Lightning's 165 for nine. The win was Lancashire's third in six games and it boosts their hopes of qualifying the quarter-finals from the North Group.
The home side's innings was dominated by Moore's sweetly-made 42-ball 74 which included five sixes and five fours.
The Red Rose batsman was particularly hard on David Wainwright, taking 23 runs off the slow left-armer's third over. However, that accelaration was needed by a Lancashire side who had initially struggled to dominate the Falcons attack.
"I was pleased with the innings but I was hoping to get three figures," said Moore. "I felt I had a little bit of momentum going into the game although it took me a little bit of time to get going.
"Our score of 165 was around par because even though it was a good wicket, it's also a big arena and that makes 165 closer to 180 on some grounds around the country. Scoring at eight an over was always going to be hard for them."
A modest 38 runs had been scored off the first six overs for the loss of Tom Smith, Karl Brown and Simon Katich, two of the wickets falling to Tim Groenewald who eventually finished with three for 32.
Moore was joined by skipper Croft and the pair added 76 runs for the fourth wicket in only 8.2 overs before off-spinner Dan Redfern dismissed both batsmen in quick succession.
Brief injections of acceleration were supplied by Ashwell Prince and Gareth Cross and Lancashire's final total of 165 was probably a little better than par on a good pitch on a ground with a big outfield
Derbyshire seamer seamer Mark Turner profited from a late dash for runs and ended the innings with four for 35 while Redfern collected two for 17 and outfielder Chesney Hughes pouched three fine catches.
By contrast to Lancashire's innings the Falcons reply got off to a fine start with Wes Durston hitting sixes off both Tom Smith and Kabir Ali as 54 runs were plundered off the first six overs.
The run rate slowed, though, once the former Somerset and Unicorns batsmen had been trapped lbw by Kerrigan for a 29-ball 48 and the innings never quite regained the required momentum.
Shivnarine Chanerpaul made an inventive 39 off 31 balls before being run out by a direct hit from mid-on by Mitchell McClenaghan, although by then a hamstring injury had forced the Guyanan to use a runner.
The Falcons needed 46 runs off the final four overs and skipper Wayne Madsen made 36 in a vain effort to keep up with the asking rate as Kabir Ali and McClenaghan applied the pressure. The New Zealand bowler finished with two for 26 and reinforced his reputation as a very skilful seamer in short-form cricket.
"I don't think the victory was easy in the end," said Moore. "Kabir bowled a brilliant penultimate over which really took the pressure off us and the spinners bowled well in the middle but it was always going to be a tight game."
Picture of Stephen Moore (c) Simon Pendrigh