Livingstone's best steers Lancs to a convincing T20 victory over Durham
A career-best 61 by Liam Livingstone helped Lancashire Lightning to a convincing 31-run victory over Durham Jets in the NatWest T20 Blast at Emirates Old Trafford today.
Livingstone’s effort, together with an excellent 64 run partnership off 37 balls between Ryan McLaren and Steven Croft saw the Lightning score 174-5, a total that was then expertly defended by the Red Rose attack as Durham could only muster 143-8 in reply.
This third win of the campaign lifts Lancashire back into second place in the North Group table, level with both Yorkshire Vikings and Leics Foxes on 8 points, the Foxes having played one game less.
After Lancashire skipper Croft won the toss, Livingstone found himself requiring treatment after just four balls when he was hit on the arm by a sharply rising delivery from Chris Rushworth.
The Lightning opener hit back in style, hitting Rushworth for sixes in both the third and fifth overs and reaching a 34-ball half century when driving Paul Collingwood straight for 4 in the 10th over, which Lancashire reached on 73-3.
At that point the game appeared to be fairly evenly balanced and the visitors were soon encouraged when Livingstone fell for 61 sweeping at Ryan Pringle from the last ball of the 12th over with Lancashire 91-4.
Dane Vilas drove Pringle over extra cover for 6 in his brief innings of 20 before McLaren and Croft combined with an expertly judged partnership of 64, a T20 record for the 6th wicket by Lancashire against Durham, over the final six overs.
The pair both a six in the final over of the innings to put the seal on a 174 run total, McLaren ending on 32 not out off just 18 balls and Croft unbeaten on 35 from 25.
Durham were handicapped in their innings by the loss of Adam Hickey who injured a shoulder attempting to take what would have been a great diving catch, but sadly the opening batsmen instead departed with his arm in a sling and clearly unable to bat.
The visitors started brightly with Graham Clark attacking to good effect with a 19-ball innings of 24 before he fell to a good catch at deep cover by Livingstone off McLaren in the 5th over.
The Jets reached the end of 6 over powerplay on 48-1 but the introduction of spin saw the boundaries start to dry up, with just two struck in the next five overs, as the Lightning attack took charge.
Matt Parkinson struck with his second ball, debutant Gareth Harte lbw sweeping for 11, and wickets then fell at regular intervals as the Durham reply stumbled.
Jordan Clark struck with two wickets in one over on his way to figures of 3-36, while Parkinson took a second later on to complete another good outing with 2-23 from his four overs.
Durham fell from a position of 77-2 in the 11th over, losing three wickets for 13 in 14 balls, and their innings never recovered despite a hard-hitting innings 29 off 16 balls by Coughlin down the order.
Junaid Khan took 1-23 and McLaren 2-35 as the Jets finished on 143-8.
Liam Livingstone felt it was a very good win saying “Durham can be a tricky side at times. They’ve got some dangerous players so to get over the line is nice and we’ve got to try and keep the boulder rolling now.
Livingstone was quick to play down any injury concerns after being hit earlier adding: “I felt like it was a pretty good pitch to be fair.
“It was one of those days where we had to get a total that was defendable, and then we just pass it over to the bowlers who did their usual job and were as reliable as ever.”
Lancashire have a good T20 record at headquarters and Livingstone said: “I don’t think it’s any coincidence really.
“All white ball pitches are very similar here. Some are better with the new ball than others.
“We use it to our advantage and in the field try and cut the twos off but still be close enough to save the boundary.
“The lads in the middle order, like Jos and Dane who are rapid between the wickets, we try and use that as much as we can.
“We try and play to our strengths here and we’ve played a lot of T20 cricket here to know how to play. So we use our home advantage more than most teams I think.”
This was Livingstone’s highest T20 innings and he said: “It’s been a long time coming.
“It’s taken a little while to get used to being back opening and to find the right formula.
“I’ve gone too hard, too early sometimes, but that’s all part of me carrying on learning and progressing through my career.
“I’m going to have to learn a little bit quicker sometimes, but it was nice to get some runs today.
Livingstone however is relishing the opportunity at the top of the order.
“It’s great fun,” he added, “because you play your shots, they’re only allowed two men on the boundary, so you’ve always got two or three boundary options if you need them.
“It’s all about trying to get that balance right of not over attacking and being 20 for 2. We’re trying to be 60 for none in the powerplay.
“One day I think me and Browny will go well together, so it’s about trying to get that right formula.”
Lancashire fielded and unchanged side again today and Livingstone added:
“At the start of the competition you strive to have the same eleven and get on a roll.
“Everyone knows their role. We’ve got players like Jordan (Clark) who, I think, has faced one ball so far in the tournament and to have people like that who are there when we need them is great for our side.
“It’s exciting to be part of the side at the moment.
“The boys are working hard to get towards our full potential. We’re nowhere near that yet, and we know that, but it’s exciting when we are winning games and not yet at our full potential.
“It’s a great environment at the moment.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
NatWest T20 Blast tickets
Don’t miss out on the biggest summer’s day out of the year and secure your tickets to watch the NatWest T20 Blast with tickets from £10 for adults and just £1 for kids.
Packed into just three short hours of explosive T20 cricket, the NatWest T20 Blast offers plenty of entertainment on and off-the-field for the entire family with themed nights, live music, street performers, games and activities, fancy dress stalls and plenty of food and drink in our Foster’s Fan Village.
Plus, with some of the biggest names in international cricket joining Lancashire this summer you can expect to see plenty of wickets flying and huge sixes at every match.
Lancashire Lightning NatWest T20 Blast home fixtures:
Lancashire Lightning v Notts Outlaws, Fri 28 July, Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire Lightning v Worcestershire Rapids, Wed 16 August, Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire Lightning v Birmingham Bears, Fri 18 August, Emirates Old Trafford
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