Birthday boy Gareth Cross celebrated in style by smashing a six off the penultimate ball to give Lancashire a dramatic FPt20 victory on Sunday
To see the highlights click the image above - Gareth Cross smashes Warwicks' Keith Barker for six to win the game in dramatic fashion
With 12 needed from seven balls, the wicketkeeper hit the first delivery he faced, the last ball of the 19th over, for four and then, having seen Warwickshire’s Keith Barker concede just a wide and a single to Nathan McCullum from the first four balls of the final over, he sent the second ball he faced over the rope for a match-winning six to the delight of Old Trafford's biggest Twenty20 crowd so far this season.
“I thought it was going for four and didn’t know we had won it,” admitted Cross, who turned 26 today, as Lancashire passed Warwickshire’s 126-6 with five wickets to spare.
“Barker bowled well to Nathan, and then bowled me a rank half-volley. I middled it, just.
“I kept telling Nathan to get something on it and get me on strike! Nathan is an international player and knows what to do, but he was getting a bit frustrated. You sometimes have time to think about things if you have 10 or 12 balls to face, but I couldn’t have done anything else but swing hard.
“I have not had much of a chance with the bat, going in down the order, so it was just good to contribute. A few of the lads said to me I would do something special with it being my birthday, and it worked out.”
Tom Smith made a crucial 51, his fifth score over 40 in the competition in five innings this season, as Lancashire kept ahead of the required run rate.
But Imran Tahir claimed 3-18 in the middle of the innings, and when Simon Katich went for 17 in the 18th over and Smith followed him five balls later, Lancashire looked up against it.
But Cross proved the hero to give Lightning their first win in four games and condemn the Bears to only their second defeat in the north group.
“With two overs left there were a few nerves, but we always thought we were going to do it,” revealed Cross.
“It has just not happened for us over the last few games, we have got ourselves into winning positions but not finished them off. And, to be honest, we don’t even know why we have been losing.”
Lancashire’s bowlers set up the win. Simon Kerrigan, back in the side in place of Mark Chilton after missing the last four games, took two wickets in two balls to see off Darren Maddy - thanks to a stunning diving catch from Simon Katich - and Varun Chopra, while Sajid Mahmood also finished with 2-27 as Warwickshire struggled to score.
And McCullum, Stephen Parry and Glen Chapple also kept things tight, with Jim Troughton the only Warwickshire batsman to get to grips with them as he made 42 from 34 balls.
“We bowled, batted and fielded really well today - it was a good all-round performance,” added Cross.
Lancashire, who move up to fourth in the north group, now face third place Durham Dynamos at Old Trafford on Tuesday at 5.30pm.
Ken Grime at Old Trafford
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd