Lancs lose out in last ball Aigburth T20 thriller
A six off the last ball by Colin Ackerman clinched a four-wicket victory for Leicestershire Foxes in an exciting climax to today’s NatWest T20 Blast encounter in front of a packed Aigburth crowd at Liverpool CC.
Ackerman, making his Foxes’ T20 debut, finished on 62 not out from 41 balls and kept his nerve when facing the final delivery with two runs required for victory, carving the ball over extra cover to end a thrilling contest.
The visitors looked to be coasting towards their victory target of 174 when placed on 115-3 in the 12th over before a great fightback by the Red Rose attack kept the result in doubt until the end.
Stephen Parry bowled Ned Eckersley for 10 at the end of the 12th over and Tom Bailey followed with two overs that only conceded six runs and claimed the wicket of Lewis Hill, lbw for 3, to put the visitors under pressure.
Danny Lamb, making his Lancashire T20 debut, impressed with figures of 3-30 including the wicket of danger man Mark Cosgrove for 34. When Tom Wells became his third victim after holing out to Arron Lilley at long-on for 8, the Foxes were 144-6 needing 30 runs off 20 deliveries.
That equation became 16 runs off two overs following a tight 18th over bowled by Kyle Jarvis that only went for five runs, but a six by the on-loan Mathew Pillans off the last ball of the 19th over proved crucial.
Pillans was run out by Lilley when two runs were required from the final two balls, to briefly raise Lightning hopes, before Ackerman steered the visitors’ home from the last delivery to end a dramatic game.
Lancashire skipper Steven Croft was honest enough to admit his side were second best today.
“I’m very disappointed to have lost the game,” he said. “I thought we weren’t quite there in all three disciplines.
“I thought we came back into the game very well, but we made some bad decisions at crucial times and we probably didn’t deserve to win that game.”
Lancashire had started in sparkling fashion with runs coming at a rate around ten runs per over during the first half of the innings but the loss of six wickets by the end of the 14th over resulted in a loss of momentum as the Lightning eventually posted 173-9 from their 20 overs.
“We got a competitive total,” was Croft’s assessment. “Batting first we weren’t sure what a good total was not having played a T20 here for a long time.
“We would have liked to have got around 185 but we fell a little bit short because we didn’t have anyone set at the end. We needed to keep the innings ticking along and then go big at the end.
“That’s the benefit of bowling first. You get a look at what the pitch is like.
“I still thought our total was competitive and if we had bowled well could have kept them down to that score.”
The Lightning innings had gained impetus from a 38-run partnership in 4 overs between Liam Livingstone and Arron Lilley following the early loss of Karl Brown.
Lilley, once again in his new role at number three, hammered six fours in his 17-ball innings of 30 and after his departure, and that of Croft to consecutive Clint McKay deliveries in the 5th over, Livingstone and Jos Buttler continued in similar attacking vein.
The pair played some superb shots to steer Lancashire to 97-3 by the end of the 10th over, with Buttler, who made 39 from 21 balls, hitting the first six of the day over extra cover off Callum Parkinson. The left arm spinner was making his making his T20 debut and is the twin brother of Lancashire’s Matthew who was on 12th man duties today.
Livingstone, who earlier had hit three consecutive fours including two reverse sweeps off Ackermann, hammered a couple of maximums himself in an innings of 48 from 34 balls and helped Buttler add 72 in 6.1 overs for the fourth wicket to put the home side in a strong position.
Lamb then scored 22 including one six pulled over square leg, but that was the only boundary struck by the Lightning after the 12th over, and the innings fell away across the final six overs to end on 173-9 with Foxes skipper McKay taking 3-28.
Lancashire’s next match in the NatWest T20 is on Friday when Yorkshire Vikings visit Emirates Old Trafford.
“Its early days in this competition,” added Croft, “and we’ve played some really good cricket this season. Going into Friday’s Roses game we’ve got to remember what we’ve done well and learn from the mistakes we’ve made.
“I still think we are a good T20 side and we go in to that game full of confidence.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
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Lancashire Lightning NatWest T20 Blast home fixtures:
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