Left-arm spinner Stephen Parry starred with four wickets as Lancashire Lightning hammered Middlesex Panthers by seven wickets
Tonight’s Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Old Trafford was badly affected by the weather, with several stoppages which finally were reduced down to a chase of 97 off 15 overs.
The Lightning bowled and fielded superbly as they restricted the Panthers to 97-8 in a clash that was reduced from 40 overs per side down to 32, to 22, to 18 and then 16 following numerous rain showers.
Lancashire were set a revised target of 103 off 16, but a further rain shower accounted for the loss of one over to revise the target further with the Lightning on 48-2 after 8.1 overs.
Steven Croft and Karl Brown shared a crucial 79-run stand in ten overs for the third wicket as a fourth win from six Group A matches was secured with ten balls to spare when Neil Dexter bowled consecutive wides in the 14th over.
Croft top-scored with 45 off 35 balls, including five fours and a six, while Brown finished with 36 not out off 32 balls as he hit three fours and a six.
The Lightning are now second in the group on eight points. They are three points behind group leaders the Netherlands having played three less and still have the Dutch side to visit Old Trafford in August. They have games in hand on four of the other six teams in the group.
Parry finished with career best figures of 4-21 from four overs, including two wickets in the last over of the Middlesex innings, which saw only two batsmen reach double figures.
“It was a great win. It puts us in a good position to maybe get a semi-final and get some silverware for this season,” said Parry after performing on the day that had been dubbed ‘the day of a thousand warm-ups’ in the home dressing room.
“It's difficult for everyone, but it's about trying to stay focused as a team. Tonight we were really good. Winning the toss was a big thing because we've been hurt by Duckworth-Lewis during the last couple of weeks in Twenty20.
“It's nice to get man of the match, but more importantly it's more important that we win and stay together because next game it will be someone else's turn.”
Middlesex’s day was one to forget. Even before losing an important toss, they were hit by the loss of England one-day batsman Eoin Morgan, who failed to take his place in the team due to transport problems.
Morgan’s train from Euston to Manchester was cancelled, meaning he was forced to take a detour to York in order to get to Old Trafford. In the end, Ollie Rayner had to play.
Play finally started at 6pm, but Middlesex could only reach 4-0 after 2.3 overs when rain came approximately 15 minutes later.
When play resumed two hours later, Dawid Malan was the only Panther to prosper in bowler-friendly conditions with a season’s best 48 off 36 balls.
Parry had Joe Denly stumped by Gareth Cross and Paul Stirling caught behind down the leg-side, leaving the visitors at 45-2 after nine overs. He returned to bowl the last over of the innings and bowled Rayner and had Jon Simpson caught at long-off, before Gareth Berg was run out with the last ball as he went for two.
Ajmal Shahzad, Tom Smith and Gary Keedy also struck as only two batsmen reached double figures.
Lancashire made a damaging start to their chase by losing Stephen Moore caught at mid-on off Toby Roland-Jones without a run on the board, and Smith brilliantly caught one-handed at mid-wicket by Berg off Steven Crook.
But Croft and Brown batted with caution before easing through the gears after further rain accounted for the loss of one over. Both hit sixes off Panthers' Tom Smith and Berg over long-on as the win was secured with plenty in the tank.
“I thought we did really well because it was a messy game for both sides,” said coach Peter Moores.
“We put everything together – we bowled well, fielded well and batted well. We have been frustrated at times this year because we haven’t always pulled everything together. We looked a good side on paper, and we played well as well.”
Lancashire’s next match in this competition is against Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road on Sunday.
Photo: Gareth Cross stumps Joe Denly off the bowling of Stephen Parry (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd