Lancashire lost by 5 wickets to Fly Emirates in Dubai
The Red Rose suffered a shock defeat at the hands of a Fly Emirates XI in the semi-final of the Emirates Airline T20 competition at the Sevens ground in Dubai this morning, losing by five wickets as the hosts chased 129 in a nail-biting contest.
The hosts will now play Sussex this afternoon in the final (11am UK) after prevailing on a slow and low surface with only one ball to spare.
Steven Croft’s side posted 128-8 after being invited to bat first by a team made up of workers from all aspects of the Fly Emirates business, although that included a handful of UAE international players. Croft led the way with 29 off 36 balls, but only hit one four.
Tom Smith added 22 off 18 balls, Gareth Cross 18 off 16 and Stephen Moore 17 off 19.
But once the latter fell in the sixth over, caught at mid-off by Arshad Ali off Fawad Syed, the Lightning lost wickets at regular intervals. They did, however, manage to get a defendable total with help of Stephen Parry, who hit 10 runs off the last two balls of the innings.
Arshad Ali’s spin claimed 3-42 from his four overs, including the dismissals of Paul Horton, Cross and Kyle Hogg. Fellow spinner Yasin Sikander and Fawad Syed both took two wickets.
Arshad then anchored the chase, building on a racing start to the reply by opening partner Amjed Javed, with 41 off 48 balls, including three fours.
Lancashire were put under pressure when Javed smashed 33 off 21 balls to get them off to a flyer. Javed even hit the first ball of the innings from Hogg for a straight six before hitting three boundaries off Simon Kerrigan’s first over, the fifth of the innings, to help them move to 48-0 in the sixth before Smith had him caught behind.
Rahul Chitwani was then run out going for one to Moore at mid-wicket in the same over before Smith bowled Khuram Khan in the eighth, leaving the score at 56-3.
Wayne White was unfortunate not to have had Javed caught at short fine-leg earlier having been harshly pulled up for bowling a second bouncer in the over, but he had Nizel Gilbert caught by Procter in the 14th over to leave Emirates four down and the game in the balance.
But Ali continued to keep the board ticking over and ensured his side got over the line - just. Smith was the pick of the bowlers with 2-16 from four overs.
Steven Croft has led Lancashire in both of their tour matches so far in place of the rested Glen Chapple, and he admitted: “It was obviously disappointing to lose like that. We have got a lot of things to work on.
“We didn’t get enough runs. The pitch didn’t help with regards to getting a score, but I think the batters - mainly the top five - have got to work out a better plan. Probably 140 would have given us a good chance.
“Against scores like ours, all it takes is someone to come off in the powerplay, which then makes it tough. After we got Javed, I think we played some good cricket.
“We’ve still got a lot of cricket left on this tour. Yes we want to get into a winning habit, but it’s not the be all and end all. You want to learn about your games, and I think we’ll all take something from the last two games.”
Lancashire play the MCC Young Cricketers here tomorrow morning at the same venue.
Scores: Lancashire 128-8 (20 overs) Croft 29
Fly Emirates 129-5 (19.5 overs) Arshad Ali 41, Smith 2-16
Photo: Paul Holliday/LCCC