Lancashire lose last over thriller against Worcs Rapids
Worcestershire Rapids prevailed in a thrilling high-scoring Vitality Blast opener to win by six wickets with one ball to spare at Emirates Old Trafford tonight.
A crucial 67 run partnership off 41 balls between Rapids’ skipper Brett D’Oliveira and Ross Whiteley pulled the game around for the Rapids who were 118-4 in the 13th over chasing Lancashire’s good total of 188-6.
Although Whiteley perished in the last over for 28, Ed Barnard hit the only ball he faced for four from the fifth ball to clinch victory.
Lancashire produced a strong performance with the bat, led by Keaton Jennings’ half-century, to post a good total on the same pitch used for the T20 international two days earlier.
Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone got the innings off to a flying start with an opening partnership of 58 off 40 balls after winning the toss.
Livingstone had a nervous moment on 7 when his pull off Luke Wood to square leg looked set to sail into the crowd until D’Oliveira pulled off an astonishing leap to stop the ball going for six. It was a typical piece of T20 action and to suggest such a fine piece of fielding was a possible catch, very harsh!
Undeterred Livingstone then hit three sixes in four balls as the Lightning’s 50 arrived by the end of the 6-over powerplay.
Worcestershire immediately resorted to taking pace off the ball, utilising the slow medium pace of Daryl Mitchell in tandem with their spin attack and it paid immediate dividends.
Alex Davies had driven Luke Wood for four in the first over on his way to a 15-ball innings of 20 but both openers departed within three balls of each other, Livingstone pulling Mitchell for six but holing out to deep square leg from the next delivery after an entertaining 35 from 27 balls, while Davies fell to a catch at long-on off D’Oliveira to make the score 58-2 at the start of the 8th over.
Keaton Jennings swept D’Oliveira for 6 in 12th over as the Lightning 100 arrived after one ball of the 13th over before Arron Lilley was caught at long-on for a run-a-ball 13.
Dane Vilas hit a six and four before finding Martin Guptill at long-on off George Rhodes after 16 runs had been plundered from the 15th over to leave Lancashire on 128-4.
It was Jennings, making his Lancashire T20 debut batting at number four, who put some momentum into the latter part of the innings driving Ed Barnard for six and four to reach his 50 from 32 balls before losing his middle stump to Wood at the start of the 18th over with Lancashire on 149-5.
Jordan Clark thumped a couple of sixes in his 25 not out off 13 balls and Steven Croft pulled the 10th maximum of the innings over backward square leg to be unbeaten on 15 off 7 balls as Lancashire posted 188-6.
In reply Guptill and Clarke took 31 from the opening three overs, with Clarke dropped on 11, before Joe Mennie struck with his first ball in T20 for the Lightning when Guptill drove straight to Clark at mid-on for 19.
But Clarke powered on taking 20 runs from the 5th over as the Rapids raced to 70-1 from the 6-over powerplay as the Lightning attack failed to stem the flow of boundaries.
Clarke fell for 42 off 24 balls, bowled by Faulkner after missing with his attempt at a reverse sweep to leave the Rapids on 84-2 after 8 overs following a partnership of 53 off 28 balls.
Callum Ferguson departed for 35 after slicing Stephen Parry to Clark running in from the extra cover boundary while Cox, who made 19, hit Clark for a straight six but was deceived by a slower delivery to be bowled for 19 next ball.
That left Worcestershire on 119-4 leaving 70 required off 7 overs which became 50 from 5 overs after D’Oliveira hit three consecutive boundaries off Mennie in the 15th over.
Crucially Whiteley hit sixes in both the 18th and 19th overs to keep the Rapids on course while Lancashire didn’t help their cause by missing four chances of varying degrees of difficulty.
With seven required from the final over Whiteley was caught by Lilley off Clark for 28 but D’Oliveira was still there at the end unbeaten on 37 (from 23 balls) as Barnard struck the winning runs.
Keaton Jennings conceded it had been a tough defeat.
“For the majority of that game we were ahead and played better cricket,” he said.
There’s a couple of things where we let ourselves down and that really cost us.
“A couple of (poor) overs, a couple of things in the field but that’s T20 cricket.
“You’ve got to make sure that every little bit you do is really top-notch because if you drop someone in a four-day game you have time to pull it back whereas in this (format) it can really hurt you.
“We were happy with 189 on that pitch. Chasing 190 on a really good surface with a big outfield is going to be tough to get.
“And I think we did some superb things and for the majority of the game we were ahead and better. But we didn’t just quite nail those tiny one-percenters. That cost us.
“That’s cricket. It’s a game down to human error, and we made errors tonight that cost us.
“Tomorrow is another game and we need to leave what happened today in the changing room, walk away with a good feeling for tomorrow (at Derby).
Lancashire travel to play Derbyshire Falcons tomorrow evening and return to Emirates Old Trafford to play Northants Steelbacks on Sunday (July 8th) at 2.30pm.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh