REPORT: Lancashire Lightning v Derbyshire Falcons, Royal London One-Day Cup
Lancashire chased down a revised 18-over target of 161 to beat Derbyshire in a thriller at Blackpool and significantly boost their hopes of qualification for the knockout stage of the Royal London one-day Cup.
Rain affected this North Group clash between two mid-table sides both hoping to seal a top three berth.
Derbyshire, invited to bat, initially posted 132 for two from 21.3 overs before their innings was ended by the weather shortly before 3pm.
When play resumed at 5.30pm, the Lightning task was a stiff one.
But Stephen Parry was their hero with 22 not out off nine balls as he helped take 27 off the last two overs, winning by three wickets with a ball to spare.
The Lightning have now won three on the bounce, and two more wins will qualify them.
Alex Davies and Karl Brown got Lancashire’s chase off to a flyer with an opening stand of 42 in 5.1 overs.
Davies hit two boundaries in the first over from Ben Cotton before Brown hoisted the same bowler over long-on for six as 39 came off the first four overs.
But Shiv Thakor, who had earlier hit a powerful 38 off 33 balls, then made the breakthrough when he had Davies caught at deep mid-wicket for 21.
Liam Livingstone hammered a four and a six, over wide long-on, off the leg-spin of Jeevan Mendis early in the eighth over, but the Sri Lankan got his man later in the over as he miscued a catch to the same area - 65 for two.
The hosts, who need 96 off the last 10 overs, lost their third wicket and fourth wickets in the tenth and eleventh as the score fell to 81 for four, handing the hosts the definite advantage.
Dane Vilas hammered a return catch to Thakor and leg-spinner Matt Critchley bowled Brown for 39.
Mendis, who later left the field with a nasty looking hand injury, claimed his second, Jordan Clark stumped, as the score fell to 95 for five in the 13th. The target became 60 off the last five.
Ryan McLaren hit a couple of sixes to take that to 32 off the last three before being bowled by Thakor.
Haseeb Hameed was run out two balls later as Lancashire fell to 135 for seven.
But Parry and captain Steven Croft, unbeaten on 26, dramatically turned the tied, with Parry hitting three boundaries in three balls off Hardus Viljoen in the penultimate over.
Earlier, opener Ben Slater, fresh from scores of 30, 72, 43 and 82 in his last four innings in this competition, added a run-a-ball unbeaten 60 for the Falcons.
Lancashire’s bowlers were put under pressure either side of two rain delays before the third came midway through the afternoon.
Slater reached 50 in as many balls, but only after he had lost opening partner and captain Billy Godleman caught at long-leg off a short ball from Clark, leaving the score at 59 for one in the 12th.
Clark later left the field with a suspected side injury, something which did not prevent him from batting.
Thakor hit Clark and Jimmy Anderson for two huge leg-side sixes out of Stanley Park to really boost the visitors.
But he was stumped off the off-spin of Croft in the 22nd over as the score fell to 128 for two. Only two more balls were bowled in the innings.
Derbyshire are now unlikely to qualify with two games remaining, although they are not mathematically out.