Lancashire will be on the road in the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals after losing by 60 runs in their final North Division match against Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge
Defeat today means they finish second in the group behind Notts, and their total of 12 points will not be sufficient to claim the final home tie as best second-placed team across the three groups.
The Outlaws were fired to the top of the group by England opening batsman Alex Hales and left-arm spinner Graeme White, who hit 82 off 52 balls and returned 5-22 from four overs respectively as they first posted 194-6 and then defended it with ease.
The Lightning were bowled out for 134 inside 17 overs as they suffered a bad day at the office with their third defeat in all and first in seven matches.
"Notts played really well up front. They got off to a bit of a flyer. We didn't deal that well with the short boundary, but they made it really tough for us,” said captain Glen Chapple, who had earlier chosen to field.
“I thought we came back really well from 10 overs. We showed a bit of fight there. It turned into a tough target, but one we felt we had a chance with.
"What happens in games like that is that you've got to keep up with the rate. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many you're going to lose by if you're going to lose. We were always qualifying, so we just carried on trying to go for the rate.
"The margin of victory is obviously massive, but it's a little bit false in a way because we could have got a lot closer. That would have meant no chance of winning.
"This game's history, and it won't matter if we win the quarter. We would have liked to have played at Emirates Old Trafford, no doubt about that. But it's the quarter that matters. If we win that, this doesn't matter.”
Chapple’s side should actually have been chasing more than 200 after the hosts reached 100 in the ninth over. But they lost four wickets in the last 5.3 overs of the innings to give Lancashire a boost at halfway.
Unfortunately, however, Mitchell McClenaghan dropping Hales on 20 at mid-on off Tom Smith in the fifth over proved costly.
Hales smashed three fours and six sixes as he shared blistering half-century stands for the first and second wicket with Michael Lumb (30) and Samit Patel, who later added three wickets early in the visiting reply.
Steven Croft was Lancashire’s best bowler with 0-17 from four overs, although Chapple struck twice to add to wickets for McClenaghan and Kabir Ali.
Three bowlers going for more than 10 runs per over hurt Lancashire. Hales was one of two run outs in the Notts innings, with Smith hitting the stumps running in from deep mid-wicket as he ran for two.
Stephen Moore was caught and bowled by Patel with the first ball of the chase before Karl Brown found White at deep mid-wicket off the same bowler to leave the score at 18-2 in the third over.
Smith and Croft took them past 50 in the sixth over with 22 and 23 respectively, but wickets tumbled regularly from then on.
Steven Mullaney took an impressive low catch at long-on to help White dismiss Smith to leave the score at 51-3 early in the seventh before the same bowler trapped Croft lbw as the visitors slipped to 72-4.
Simon Katich was then caught and bowled by White to follow Croft back to the pavilion, and Lancashire were on their way to defeat at 73-5 in the ninth. Gareth Cross holed out to deep mid-wicket off White shortly afterwards before rain stopped play for a little over half an hour.
When play resumed, White bowled Chapple on the way to his career best figures and his county’s best ever in Twenty20.
Ashwell Prince was the Lightning’s top-scorer with 27, and he was last man out when he found Mullaney at long-on off Patel, who finished with 3-34 from 3.5 overs.
The draw for the quarter-finals will be made on Wednesday.
Picture: Graeme White traps Steven Croft lbw, one of his five wickets (c) Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport