Lancashire slump to heavy Leicestershire defeat
Lancashire lost their third Royal London one-day Cup match in five as they failed to chase down 308 against Leicestershire at Grace Road today.
The Red Rose county’s quarter-final hopes are now hanging by a thread with three matches remaining after seeing the Foxes post an imposing 307-8, including 92 for Mark Pettini and 91 for Mark Cosgrove.
A half-century for Tom Smith helped to get the Lancashire chase off to a healthy start as he and opening partner Alviro Petersen shared 74.
But they were two of four wickets to fall for 30, including three for eleven, as Lancashire slipped to 104-4 and 176 all out inside 40 overs.
They lost their last night wickets for 83 runs, including their last five for 14, to slip to a 131-run defeat, including 4-22 from seven overs for medium pacer Neil Dexter.
“It was a very disappointing game for us with bat and ball, really,” said captain Steven Croft.
“We never seemed to get going. We felt as if they got too many runs, and then it wasn’t the greatest of chases. We had a good start, but to bowled out with not even 10 overs left is pretty poor.
“Once we lost a few wickets and the rate started to go up, we seemed like we panicked a bit and took a backward step.
“They had the bowlers to suit the wicket. It was quite tough with pace off.
“I think 280 would have been maybe par had we bowled a little bit better and tried a few more variations. That’s for us as bowling unit and me as captain to think about next time.”
Earlier, after Croft had elected to bowl, Smith and new ball duo Nathan Buck and Kyle Jarvis all took two wickets apiece for Lancashire.
Croft even took a stunning catch at long-off to help former Fox Buck remove Australian Cosgrove inside the final 10 overs of the innings.
Croft had to leap high to grab the ball, which looked destined for six, before throwing it up in the air fearing he would land over the rope.
As it was, he didn’t and managed to hold onto the catch whilst scrambling on the floor.
Pettini and Cosgrove underpinned the Leicester innings with a third-wicket partnership of 140 inside 20 overs as they advanced the score from 93-2 in the 20th.
Smith had trapped former team-mate Paul Horton lbw for 32 and Jordan Clark had Cameron Delport caught behind by a diving Tom Moores.
After Pettini and Cosgrove had put Leicester in a strong position with their partnership, Lancashire actually recovered well towards the end of the innings to prevent a tougher task with the bat.
Smith trapped Pettini lbw in the 39th over, leaving the score at 233-3, before the Foxes lost five wickets inside the last 10 overs.
Cosgrove was caught by Croft off Buck, who also bowled Lewis Hill, before Michael Burgess was trapped lbw by Stephen Parry.
Dexter, who hit two sixes off Parry in the 49th, was then yorked by Jarvis, the first of two wickets in the final over as Rob Sayer holed out to Croft at long-on.
In reply, Smith and Petersen laid a good platform inside the first 14 overs against a Foxes attack including debutant South African left-arm seamer Dieter Klein, who is the professional at Lancashire League side Lowerhouse this summer.
Shortly after Petersen fell stumped off Sayer’s off-spin attempting a reverse sweep for 24, Smith reached a 47-ball fifty.
But he saw Karl Brown hole out to deep mid-wicket off Dexter, who also forced Luke Procter to chop onto his stumps.
Sandwiched in between, Smith was caught at mid-off off the part-time off-spin of Horton, who was bowling his first ever List A over.
Liam Livingstone, who pulled Ollie Freckingham for successive boundaries in the 30th, and Croft steadied the ship by helping reach 30 overs at 140-4, with 168 more needed.
But he was caught behind off Dexter in the 31st for 28 as the score slipped to 143-5.
It was soon 165-7 after 35 following wickets in successive balls for the medium pace of Delport, who had Clark caught and long-on and bowled Croft.
Parry was bowled by Klein - 175-8 after 38 - before Jarvis was bowled by Dexter in the 39th. Moores slapped Klein to cover in the 40th to signal defeat.
Lancashire are back in RL50 action tomorrow against Derbyshire at the County Ground, starting at 2pm.
“We haven’t strung back to back wins together in either competition, and we’re a far better side than we’re showing,” added Croft.
“We need people to put their hands up with bat and ball.
“There’s plenty to work on, and we need to start turning it around.
“We’re on TV tomorrow, so we need to try and put a show on.
“We should be excited for it and look to attack it. I felt we took a bit of a backward step today and didn’t look that confident once the ball started going round a bit.
“You don’t mind as a captain going down to a good loss, but when we have been getting beat it’s due to a bit of our error and a lack of discipline.”