LANCASHIRE Lightning overcame a reduced overs limit to record their second home win of the season, as they defeated Leicestershire Foxes by nine wickets in the NatWest T20 Blast (D/L Method).

200+ strike rates from Jos Butler and Jordan Clark were crucial to Lancashire’s victory, as the Red Rose chased down 74 off seven overs.

The result boosts the defending T20 Blast champions’ play-off hopes immeasurably, as they climb to sixth and are just one point behind a top four spot.

With heavy cloud coverage around Old Trafford it seemed a sensible decision for Lancashire to put The Foxes into bat first. However, Leicestershire’s opening batsman Mark Cosgrove and Mark Pettini managed to power through the tricky conditions.

The Red Rose were also finding it tough going in the field, typified by Stephen Parry’s slip at third man off a strike that Cosgrove didn’t even bother running for.

Missed opportunities to catch Cosgrove became a trend for Lancashire throughout the innings, as they had three opportunities to catch the Aussie out.

Lilley would have a chance to catch the opening batsman on 26, however the ball bobbled out his hands; another chance would come when he was on 59, as he edged a shot to cover that couldn’t quite be caught by Neil Wagner.

Lancashire were luckier with the Foxes other batsman however, as Pettini couldn’t emulate the power of his opening partner, edging a scoop that was easily caught by Jos Butler.

Umar Akmal, who despite scoring Leicestershire’s only six of their innings, would also fall cheaply after being bowled by Croft.

The Pakistani lived dangerously throughout his innings, having almost been caught off a pull just two balls before.

Mark O’Brien’s innings was in a similar fashion to that of Akmal’s, after scoring two quick-fire boundaries and racing to 12 off six balls. The Irishman’s luck ran out, though, as Croft bowled a superb leg cutter to send his stumps tumbling.

Rain cut Leicestershire innings short by six overs, meaning Lancashire would require 132 off 84 balls.

In response Lancashire registered a solid opening partnership through Clark and Alvaro Peterson, picking up 11 off eight balls, before the heavens opened once again.

This time it was serious enough to warrant the covers coming on, and lasted long enough for Lancashire to require 63 off just 34 balls.

If anything, the ambitious total spurred Lancashire on, as the first ball after the rain delay was powered for six by Clark.

Petersen also found luck on the leg side, exploiting the depth of the Leicester field, and kept the run rate ticking over allowing Lancashire to reach 21 off two overs.

Fortune would also favour Clark in the following over, after a wide yorker from Dexter left him edging the ball to slip as he attempted a drive, however the ball barely carried past the square.

Petersen wouldn’t be so fortunate however, mistiming a drive to mid-wicket that fell comfortably into the hands of Wells.

Lancashire weren’t too concerned as it allowed for star player Jos Buttler to enter the fray.

The Englishman fired two boundaries in quick succession; the first an edge to long stop, before a powerful drive to wide long off.

Buttler found himself in trouble on the last ball of the over however, almost being caught superbly at point.

Despite scoring at over 10 an over, Lancashire still required 21 off 12 balls, and received a gift when O’brien delivered a sloppy no ball.

The free hit was promptly punished by Buttler with a batting action similar to that of a bolt on a rifle. The wicketkeeper launched a humongous drive that almost reached the old pavilion.

Sixes continued to be served up for the Lancashire faithful, as Clark dispatched another pull over the boundary rope; an over to forget for Leicestershire’s Clint Mckay, who was pummeled for 20, as Lancashire required just three to win off six balls.

Those runs were made by Clark, who registered his third six of the night; a huge shot to square leg to give Lancashire their second win of the season in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Leicestershire 131/3 (20 Overs)

M Cosgrove 66* (47)                    S Croft 1/11
M Pettini 23 (14)
U Akmal 17 (11)

Lancashire Revised Target: 74 off 7.0 Overs 77/1 (6.1 Overs)

J Clark 31* (12)                             K O’Brien 1/11
A Petersen 23 (17)
J Buttler 20* (9)

Lancashire won by 9 wickets (D/L Method)

By Oliver Mackenzie

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *