What a game of cricket! Lancashire just missed out on Finals Day by the narrowest of margins as Hampshire secured a one-run win in the most thrilling of Friends Life t20 matches at the Ageas Bowl tonight.
The Lightning were knocked out at the quarter-final stage after just failing to chase down 203, which boiled down to four off the last ball of the match from Pakistan international Sohail Tanvir against Gareth Cross.
There were stages in this contest when Lancashire looked dead and buried, most notably when in-form opener Michael Carberry was blasting his way to a maiden century in this format off 66 balls, clinched off the last ball of the innings.
Carberry smashed eleven fours and three sixes as Lancashire conceded more runs than they ever have in Twenty20 before.
The left-hander had also smashed 150 not out in a Yorkshire Bank 40 match against them here earlier in the season.
Three of their bowlers, Mitchell McClenaghan, Simon Kerrigan and Kabir Ali, conceded more than ten runs per over. But they were not alone because Dimi Mascarenhas, Tanvir and Chris Wood did likewise for Hampshire Royals.
Lancashire were on course at 108-1 after eleven overs, but lost two wickets in two balls in the 12th over to Danny Briggs to put them behind the eight-ball.
Karl Brown fell for a top-score of 49 off 28 balls having shared 82 in eight for the second wicket with Stephen Moore, who hit 44 off 32. He was bowled by Briggs, who then got Simon Katich next ball in similar fashion.
It was just unfortunate that there was controversy surrounding Brown’s dismissal as it looked like wicketkeeper Adam Wheater knocked off the bails with his gloves rather than the ball. In the end, it looked like it could have cost the Lightning.
Captain Glen Chapple, who had earlier won the toss and elected to field, said: “It’s disappointing to lose in the quarters after so much effort went into the group stage, but strangely I’m not devastated. I’m devastated that we won’t be at Finals Day, but that was a really good performance by the lads against a really good team.
“We knew we’d have to play well to beat them, and we did play well. They were just two runs too strong. When there’s 400 runs scored, it really does come down to a bit of luck. It could have gone either way.
“It was a good performance. The lads will be gutted, but we batted superbly well. At the end of the day we’ve lost the game, and that’s the harsh reality. We’ll have to wait until next year to play Twenty20 cricket, but there was some serious batting there.”
Lancashire needed 70 off the last six overs before Croft and Cross came together. They then needed 68 off five, 57 off four, 42 off three, 31 off two and 17 off the last, which became 14 when Tanvir bowled a no ball which was hit for a single off the first ball of the over.
Croft hit the third legitimate ball of the over for four, which left seven needed off three. One came off the fourth ball to leave Cross with two chances to win the match. Unfortunately, Tanvir was on the money with two blockhole balls that were hard to get away.
Lancashire are next in action in a 50-over friendly against Bangladesh A at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday, with admission free.
Picture of Karl Brown (c) Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images