Lancashire achieved their goal of securing a home tie in the Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals next weekend
The Lightning enjoyed a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Essex Eagles at Chelmsford this evening, led by five wickets for the excellent Oliver Newby and 87 not out for man-of-the-match Karl Brown.
Newby, who turns 28 years-old on Sunday, gave himself an early birthday present with a career best 5-35 from 6.1 overs as the Eagles were bowled out for just 186 inside 39 overs having started well at 35-0 after six overs.
And, after captain Glen Chapple took five wickets against Gloucestershire at Bristol last Sunday, it is the first time in the county’s history that two players have taken five-fors in successive one-day matches.
Openers Ashwell Prince and Stephen Moore fell early in the Lightning’s chase, both playing on to Tim Phillips and Maurice Chambers to leave the score at 27-2, but their departures proved to be nothing other than a couple of minor blips.
Brown cracked eight fours and three huge sixes in his 97-ball stay at the crease, sharing a record stand of 160 inside 31 overs for the third wicket with fellow half-centurion Steven Croft, who made a fine unbeaten 66 off 98 on a good pitch.
The pair’s alliance was the county’s highest stand for the third-wicket in one-day matches between Lancashire and Essex, beating the previous best of 114 between Clive Lloyd and Neil Fairbrother in 1986.
This was also Lancashire’s first one-day win at Chelmsford since 1999.
“That was a very good night,” said Brown. “We came here knowing that a win would get us a home semi-final, and that’s what we’ve aimed for since the start of the competition.
“It’s always a tough place to come, so we’re really pleased. We’ve played consistently well over a number of games, and hopefully that will continue for the next three. Maybe we’ll be able to come away with a trophy.”
Newby built upon his impressive all-round display against Gloucestershire to really put the skids under the Essex innings with the first three wickets, those of Tom Westley, Mark Pettini and Greg Smith caught inside the 30 yard circle.
And they struggled to recover from 70-3 in the 14th over as wickets fell at regular intervals amidst a couple of runs out and some lackadaisical strokeplay.
Ryan ten Doeschate will be furious with himself for throwing his wicket away when he top-edged a full toss from the impressive Gary Keedy (1-31 from eight) to Paul Horton running back towards mid-on. It may have been a gift of a wicket, but it was a fine catch.
Horton took three catches, another excellent coming at short cover to get rid of Adam Wheater to hand Newby his fourth wicket, while the Eagles were hamstrung by two run outs of Owais Shah and Phillips.
Shah was run out going for two to deep cover where Brown threw down the stumps at the striker’s before Phillips was run out by Croft from long-on as the batsman was sent back to the same end. Gareth Cross did the rest.
All in all, Essex lost eight wickets for 116 runs and their last six for 78.
Brown proved to be the aggressor in a partnership that eased through the gears and only stalled temporarily with the victory target in sight. The pair played out nine dot balls with the scores level, but the game was up by that stage anyway.
Brown hit sixes off Westley over mid-wicket, Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh over long-on and Chambers over square-leg on the way to his highest score of the season in all competitions. Also an extremely impressive knock but more reserved, Croft’s was his fifth fifty of the campaign.
Lancashire face Worcestershire in their final group match at New Road on Monday afternoon.
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd
Photo of Man of the Match winner Karl Brown (c) Simon Pendrigh