Lancashire Lightning - Royal London One-Day Cup
REPORT: Lightning v Rapids
A magnificent century by Dane Vilas and an outstanding all-round performance by Jordan Clark, who achieved one-day bests with both bat and ball, led Lancashire to a comfortable 152 run victory with more than 15 overs to spare against previously undefeated Worcestershire Rapids at Emirates Old Trafford today.
This second win in the North Group by the Lightning keeps Red Rose hopes of qualification from the Royal London Cup very much alive.
After Vilas and Clarke had helped Lancashire post 313-5, Clarke ripped out the Rapids middle order with a devastating 18-ball burst, going onto to a one-day career best 4-34 and becoming just the eighth Red Rose player to make a half-century and take four wickets in a List A one-day match.
Worcestershire were looking in reasonably good shape on 70-2 after 14 overs having just about survived a classy five over burst from James Anderson, well backed up by Kyle Jarvis, that accounted for Moeen Ali who fended an Anderson delivery into the hands of Alex Davies for 5 and Tom Kohler-Cadmore who drove Jarvis to Stephen Parry at mid-on for 1 with only 11 runs on the scoreboard.
Daryl Mitchell and Joe Clarke steadied the Rapid’s innings with a half-century partnership but Mitchell’s dismissal, caught at mid-wicket by Karl Brown off Stephen Parry for 29 from the first ball of the following over was the first of four wickets to fall in 21 balls as the visitors slumped to 82-6.
The decisive spell came from Clark-with three wickets for 2 runs in 8 deliveries-that turned this game on its head, Brett D’Olivera edging behind to Davies for 1, Joe Clarke brilliantly caught by a diving Anderson at mid-wicket for 36 two balls later before Ross Whiteley had his off stump uprooted after making just four.
Clark then took a fourth wicket by bowling Ed Barnard for 8 to leave Worcestershire reeling on 96-7 in the 22nd over with the game effectively ended as a contest.
There were further wickets for Jarvis and Kerrigan as the Rapids battled on in vain before being 161 all out in the 35th over.
That the Lightning chalked up a fourth 300 plus total in this season’s competition was due to a first Lancashire one-day century by Vilas, who shared in a record partnership for the sixth wicket against Worcestershire with Clark after Steven Croft had won the toss and elected to bat.
The pair came together with Lancashire in a spot of trouble on 153-5 in the 32nd over, and their alliance more than doubled the score with 160 runs added from one ball short of 19 overs in thrilling style.
Initially Vilas and Clark had to rebuild, with the Lancashire innings faltering following two wickets for Josh Tongue, who snared Haseeb Hameed for 36 and Liam Livingstone for 18, while spinner leg spinner D’Olivera tied one end up with a fine ten-over spell that only surrendered 32 runs and accounted for Karl Brown, after the opening batsman had made a fine 63.
Moeen trapped Croft lbw for 5 with the first ball of the 32nd over but it was to be the visitors’ last success with the ball as Vilas and Clarke initially consolidated before hitting out during the closing overs.
They pressed the accelerator when taking 14 off the 40th over from Moeen to reach 209-5, Clark bringing up the fifty partnership off 53 balls with a straight six into the pavilion.
Vilas reached his half century from 49 balls as 15 runs were taken off Tongue in the 42nd over and the South African drove and pulled to great effect, giving the visitors attack little respite.
The century partnership arrived from 87 balls in the 45th over and quickly sped past the previous best of 104 set by Clive Lloyd and Mike Watkinson in 1985 as 57 runs were hammered from the final five overs.
Vilas reached his century from 83 balls in the last over by which time Clark had added two more sixes in making an exhilarating unbeaten 79 off 72 balls, his best in List A games bettering his 76 at Liverpool last week.
Lancashire’s next match in this competition is this Friday against Derbyshire at Blackpool CC with play starting at 11am.
Dane Vilas and Jordan Clark were rightly thrilled with their contributions to a convincing win.
“It felt absolutely fantastic,” said Vilas when asked about his century. “It’s nice to get over the line and get that first hundred for the team. It’s an unbelievable place to play (here) and to get a hundred is something I’ll cherish for a long time. Hopefully it’s not my last one, I want to go on and get a few more.
“Contributing in a winning game feels amazing and it was great to be part of that partnership with Jordan (Clark). We put on 160 at the back end (of the innings) and he and I work well together.
It was a sentiment endorsed by Clarke who said: “I really enjoyed getting the runs, but running with Dane isn’t the most enjoyable-he’s much faster than me!” the latter added with a big grin.
“Joking apart, it probably helped us get thirty runs or so and go right through to the end of the innings and post a score that was really good in the end.”
“As Dane said it’s nice to contribute, and come away with our second win is fantastic.”
Having lost the first three games, Lancashire face each game needing a win to stay in qualification contention from the North Group, which Vilas agreed, adding: “We want to win every game anyway.
“We know that we didn’t play well enough to win the first few, but we are playing some really good cricket now and have identified some key areas (to achieve this). The last two games, we’ve had two really good team performances,” added Clark.
The pair also revealed how the momentum from their partnership spilled over into the Lightning’s performance with the ball.
“We were buzzing in the changing room at the interval,” said Vilas. “The guys were keen to get out there and put in a good performance with the ball which we did.
“The way Jimmy and Jarv started set us off was great. The way we started the first ten overs really killed it.”
The first five over spell from James Anderson was outstanding to watch and Vilas added: “He’s a class bowler and we are really lucky to have him. Hopefully there’s many more overs like that to come in the next few games while he’s here.”
Jordan Clark felt his one-day best bowling performance didn’t actually start too well. “The first two overs were a bit iffy,” he revealed. “I wasn’t hitting my straps as well as I would have liked to. In the end I found a bit of rhythm and I was really happy to come away with figures that contributed to the win.”
And Vilas revealed how quickly he has settled in to life with Lancashire.
“The guys have been unbelievable towards me and help me and my family settle from day one,” he said. “It’s been really easy to come in to this changing room and everyone has been really welcoming, so that makes a huge difference. When you are comfortable in a place and know the guys back you, you just want to do as well as you can for them. It’s helped a lot.”