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Match Report STORY
Lancs all tied up again

Mitchell McClenaghan was Lancashire's savior with the bat as he swept the last ball of the match for four to secure the Lightning a second Friends Life t20 tie of the season against Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road tonight.

It is still difficult to assess whether the the New Zealand fast bowler dragged a point from the jaws of defeat or victory.

At 48-1 after six overs chasing 140, the Red Rose county looked well on their way to a fourth successive win. But at 118-7 with two balls left of the 18th over, they were looking a long way from the win.

Whatever your thoughts, a point could be all important in their pursuit of a quarter-final place with two games left.

Funnily enough, the popular Kiwi left-arm quick was not even 100 percent sure he would be facing the last ball of the match from Bangladesh left-arm spinner Shakib Al-Hasan, who was defending 13 off the last over after his side had totaled 139-9.

Gareth Cross had perished to long-on with the penultimate ball of the match, and it took some deliberation before the umpires decided that Cross and Simon Kerrigan had not crossed.

So, with the score at 135-9, it was McClenaghan who needed five for the win and four for the tie.

He stepped across his stumps towards off and deftly swept Shakib to the fence before celebrating a second tie in five matches by raising his bat aloft.

"I thought I was going out just to run to be honest,” said McClenaghan, who earlier took two wickets to help restrict the Foxes to a seemingly below par total.

“I was thankful that it was a left-arm spinner because I have only got one shot, which was to go behind the wicket. That played into my hands. I was always going to square up and go over short fine-leg. It's pretty easy when you've only got one option!

"That one point could be crucial. Yorkshire felt like a loss to us. But this one, from the position we got ourselves into, felt like a win. It evens itself out.

"We've had a lot of close games, so hopefully that's put us in good stead going forward. Any experience of these situations can be key.”

Lancashire now face Yorkshire at Emirates Old Trafford on Wednesday in their penultimate North Division match. Ironically, their first tie was against the White Rose at Headingley earlier this month.

The Lightning bowled and fielded superbly to restrict the three-time champions to a total well within their reach after inviting them to bat first. Leicestershire Foxes were 103-7 after 17 overs before scoring 36 off the last three.

The visitors were in control of their chase after a good start. They then stalled in the face of some excellent bowling from Shakib, who only conceded 10 runs in his first three overs.

Left-arm seamer Rob Taylor, who had earlier hit 29 off 15 balls at the end of the innings, was also central to the visitors’ collapse as they slipped to 118-7 in the 18th over. Taylor returned career best figures of 4-23 from four overs, including the wickets of Karl Brown and Tom Smith.

He then removed Kabir Ali and Arron Lilley in the space of three balls in the 18th over - Ali caught at long-on and Lilley caught and bowled. And it contributed to Lancashire needing 20 off two overs.

Glen Chapple was bowled by Shiv Thakor to leave Lancashire eight down going into the last over, which was action packed to say the least.

Earlier, Ali led the way with 3-23 from three overs, including two wickets in the last over of the innings, as the Foxes finished well below par. McClenaghan returned 2-29 from four, although 20 runs came off his last over.

Lancashire caught superbly as all nine wickets fell in that manner. Ashwell Prince set the tone with a one-handed juggling effort at mid-on to help Chapple get rid of Josh Cobb in the first over before Ali took a superb return catch diving forward to get rid of Australian Joe Burns in the seventh.

Graham Hardcastle
Picture of Mitchell McClenaghan (c) Simon Pendrigh

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