Lancashire went down by 17 runs on Duckworth Lewis in their Friends Life t20 opener against Derbyshire under floodlights at the County Ground tonight.
The Lightning posted a competitive 168-6 thanks to 46 off 35 balls from captain Steven Croft, who hit three sixes, 34 off 21 from opener Stephen Moore and 27 off 25 from Karl Brown as the Falcons’ overseas player Rana Naved-ul-Hasan went for 0-56 from four overs.
Lancashire, who had earlier lost an important toss, then took wickets regularly to keep themselves ahead of the game, reducing the hosts to 82-5 at the start of the tenth over. But Rana and Chesney Hughes combined with an effective sixth-wicket stand of 36 in just 14 balls to get their side ahead of the rate at 118-5 after 11.3 overs.
When the rain became too heavy to carry on, Hughes was 16 not out off eleven balls and Rana unbeaten on 19 off nine, the pair having hit four fours and a six between them to help clinch the two points.
Luke Procter finished with an impressive 2-15 from his two overs, while debutant Yasir Arafat also added 1-15 from two.
Coach Peter Moores said: "I thought we batted really well. I think we were probably over par. Our assessment of the pitch, we thought 150 was a good score. I don't think we bowled very well as a unit, although I don't think it was that easy to bowl with the ball wet. It's been a fairly miserable night because the weather's been grim.
"It was frustrating because we were ahead of the rate for quite a lot of the time, but they had a good over and got themselves ahead. It was a difficult decision for the umpires, I know. It's just frustrating that we got the wrong end of it."
Tom Smith got Lancashire up and running with successive boundaries off Tim Groenewald in the second over of the match, one edged wide of the slips and the other swung away to the long-leg fence, before holing out to Rana at mid-on trying to hit a third, leaving the score at 11-1.
Moore then pulled two sixes off Rana in the fifth over as he continued his impressive start to the one-day season. Moore was the chief instigator as the Pakistani’s first over went for 21, including two fours.
Lancashire’s 50 came up in the sixth, but Moore was caught behind by Tom Poynton to hand Groenewald his second wicket.
Karl Brown survived two dropped catches on eleven and 25 from Usman Khawaja and Hughes at mid-wicket and cover respectively. Brown hit his only six off David Wainwright’s left-arm spin straight down the ground, tipped over the ropes by Rana running around from long-off.
But Hughes gained revenge with a fine return catch in the 13th over, leaving the Red Rose at 94-3 on a two-paced pitch.
Paul Horton hit successive boundaries off Wainwright in the 14th before Croft hit successive sixes - over square-leg and mid-wicket - off Rana as he returned with a second over that went for 17.
Horton was stumped by Poynton as he advanced to Wainwright without success in the 16th before Gareth Cross, who pulled Mark Turner for six, was run out by Rana as he pulled the stump out of the ground after the batsman’s straight drive had cannoned into them.
Croft hit his third sixth off Rana in the same over, the 18th, before he was caught at cover the ball after being hit on the head by Turner, leaving the score at 158-6 in the 19th. Lancashire added another ten off the last.
Arafat then struck with his sixth ball in a Lancashire shirt when he had Khawaja caught behind with a short ball before Sajid Mahmood, having gone for two fours and a pulled six in the fourth over, got his revenge on Wes Durston (31) as Croft took a low catch at backward point, leaving the score at 36-2.
The Falcons reached 54-2 after six overs thanks to Ross Whiteley’s pulled six off Smith. Whiteley hit his second six over cover shortly after Stephen Parry’s introduction into the attack in the seventh.
Procter had Derbyshire skipper Wayne Madsen caught behind down the leg-side in the eighth over to keep the hosts in check at 74-3 before Parry bowled Whiteley with the first ball of the ninth for 24 as the Lightning struck twice in three balls.
And when Dan Redfern steered Procter to Croft at backward point with the first ball of the tenth, the Falcons were 82-5. Mahmood (1-42 from 2.3) then went for 17 runs from his first three legitimate balls of the 12th over before the umpires halted proceedings with the hosts ahead of the DL.
The Red Rose county will get an immediate chance to bounce back when they travel to Grace Road to face defending champions Leicestershire tomorrow night.
Moores added: "It will be a tough game. We start with two away games, and we'd really like to get a win before we go back to Old Trafford. They're a good side. They've lost a couple of players, but they've still got a lot of experience with people like Razzaq in that side. We're looking forward to it. Hopefully the weather holds that's the main thing."
Photo (c) PA Images
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd