Lancashire win to keep one-day cup hopes alive
Lancashire completed a supremely comfortable nine wicket victory over struggling Leicestershire to rekindle their hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup.
Fine bowling from young leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, who picked up 4-31 from his ten overs, following early breakthroughs by seamers Joe Mennie and Graham Onions, restricted the Foxes to a total that was desperately below par on a good pitch at Oakham School.
Lancashire captain Liam Livingstone then smashed seven sixes in racing to 90 off just 56 balls, with Hassem Hameed hitting a half-century in an unbroken partnership of 133 as the visitors cruised to victory in just 25.5 overs.
Bowling first after winning the toss proved a wise decision by Livingstone on a cloudy morning in Rutland, the smallest county in England. There was something in the pitch for the seamers, as Joe Mennie producied an almost unplayable delivery to Cameron Delport which pitched on leg stump and moved away to hit off.
Paul Horton, a former Lancashire captain, did not last much longer, Graham Onions finding the outside edge and Livingstone himself taking the catch at second slip. Ned Eckersley and Mark Cosgrove began to rebuild the innings, but their third wicket partnership had reached only 42 when Eckersley attempted to reverse sweep the left-arm spin of Stephen Parry, and top-edged high to Alex Davies coming in off the boundary at backward point.
Colin Ackermann struggled from the start against the leg-spin of Parkinson and was quickly bowled by a googly he completely failed to pick, but it was hard to understand what was going through Neil Dexter’s mind when, before getting off the mark, the experienced all-rounder tried to loft Parkinson over mid-off and failed to clear Josh Bohannon.
Cosgrove was Leicestershire’s only real hope of positing a competitive score, but the Australian had only just passed 50 when he played and missed at Parkinson, dragged his rear foot and Dane Vilas completed a smart stumping.
Tom Wells lofted Parkinson high to Parry at long-on, Javid steered Parry tamely to Livingstone at wide extra cover, and Dieter Klein was palpably leg before to Graham Onions as the Foxes failed to even bat out their 50 overs.
Davies and Hameed gave Lancashire a solid start to their reply, and though Davies top-edged a pull at Klein to be caught behind, Livingstone ensured the chase would end very quickly.