Lancashire impress in dominant victory at Grace Road
Lancashire Lightning notched a fourth straight win to go top of the North Division of the Vitality T20 Blast after crushing Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road.
After a bright start, the Foxes collapsed from 88-1 in the 10th over to be all out for a disappointing 142 in the 20th after Lancashire had won the toss and put them in.
Skipper Liam Livingstone, who made an explosive 100 off 51 balls in Lightning’s nine-wicket win at Derbyshire earlier in the competition, starred with the ball this time, claiming four for 17 from his four overs of off-spin.
He and leg-spinner Matt Parkinson between them claimed five for 39 from eight overs as the Foxes were well and truly shackled, hitting only one boundary between the 10th over and the 17th and losing six wickets in the process.
Livingstone then smashed the first three balls he faced for four off Pakistan strike bowler Mohammad Abbas on the way to 28 off 11 deliveries to give his side a flying start in pursuit of their target.
Dropped twice as he swung at everything, the 24-year-old all-rounder was eventually caught by Mohammad Nabi at mid-on (who had put him down off the previous ball) off Ben Raine.
After closing the PowerPlay on 68-1 Lightning lost Arron Lilley for a 12-ball 19 when Matt Parkinson’s twin brother Callum came into the Foxes attack but never looked in any danger of falling short of their target.
Opener Alex Davies (51) and England’s Keaton Jennings (37) were able to ease them over the line with 20 balls to spare thanks to an unbroken partnership of 70.
Leicestershire struggled to find gaps in the field in the first couple of overs but Cameron Delport got them going with two sixes and a four off left-arm seamer Toby Lester, whose second over cost 25.
Neil Dexter eventually found his rhythm, although only after a double let-off against James Faulkner on eight. Reprieved when bowled as TV umpire Graham Lloyd spotted that Australian had over-stepped, he was caught at mid-wicket off the free hit.
Dexter went on to score 30 off 28 balls after Delport had been caught in the deep by Livingstone off Graham Onions for 25 off 13 and Mark Cosgrave kept the momentum going with 31 off 21 balls.
But the dismissal of Dexter off Livingstone in the 10th over sparked a flurry of wickets as the Foxes went from 88-1 to 91-4 in the space of six deliveries.
Raine, after his brilliant century - the second fastest by an Englishman in T20 - as the Foxes blew away Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston last week, was bowled first ball by Livingstone before Dane Vilas executed an easy stumping to see off Cosgrove off Parkinson.
After Nabi and Colin Ackermann had holed out off Livingstone, Foxes were 102-6 and never really recovered in a meaningful way, some lusty blows from Zak Chappell near the end coming as too little too late.
Lancashire will go into Friday’s Roses T20 match against Yorkshire Vikings at Old Trafford full of confidence, especially with Jos Buttler available, while the Foxes have a difficult trip to Trent Bridge to take on a Nottinghamshire Outlaws side who have already beaten them at Grace Road.
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