Lancashire beat Durham by three wickets in thriller
Lancashire make it four wins in a row
Graham Onions haunted his former club by playing a late cameo that guided Lancashire to a three-wicket over Durham in their thrilling Royal London One-Day Cup clash in Gosforth.
The home side were grateful to a career-best innings from Alex Lees that guided them to a competitive total. Durham lost wickets at regular intervals, which allowed Lancashire to restrict them to only 229 from their 50 overs.
Steven Croft took command of the visitors' chase after the early loss of Keaton Jennings. He took the initiative scoring early boundaries before settling into the anchor role. The 34-year-old fell one short of a century, and his dismissal sparked a collapse that set up a tense finale.
However, it was Onions that played the decisive knock, blasting two sixes in the 48th over, which provided the momentum for Lancashire to close out the victory.
Durham were inserted by the visitors, and Saqib Mahmood made the breakthrough in the fourth over, removing Graham Clark's middle stump. Scott Steel struggled to break the shackles due to tight bowling from Mahmood and James Anderson. The pressure got to the opener and was run out after slipping by Jennings.
Cameron Bancroft and Lees began to form a solid partnership to calm the nerves, with the latter smashing a huge six off Anderson. Their stand was broken at 41 by the off-spin of Maxwell when the Durham skipper played a simple return catch to his compatriot. Michael Richardson and Jack Burnham fell cheaply, while Liam Trevaskis was pinned lbw for 16 by Stephen Parry, leaving the home side 104-6.
Amid the chaos at the other end, Lees held firm and he posted his fourth half-century in a row in the One-Day Cup. Ben Raine proved to be a valuable foil for Lees as the two players formed the first fifty partnership of the innings. Raine hit Anderson for 11 in one over, including two boundaries, but was then dismissed by Maxwell. Matthew Potts added 22 valuable runs in another good partnership for the hosts in the lower order.
Lees took the decision to accelerate after Potts fell caught behind to Anderson. The 26-year-old recorded his second List A century from 119 balls before dispatching Anderson over the top for two sixes. He made a career-best 115 before he was caught on the rope by Rob Jones off Mahmood to end the innings for 229.
Lancashire's lost Jennings in the first over of their reply when he was run out by Burnham at backward point for only a single. Croft got the innings off and running, asserting himself with a run of three boundaries in a row off Matt Salisbury. Croft and Haseeb Hameed put on fifty for the second wicket, but Raine broke the partnership when he trapped the latter lbw for 17.
After his blistering start, Croft settled into his innings and passed fifty for the third time in six matches. Maxwell was steady in his effort, but his attempt to cut loose cost him his wicket being bowled for 26 by Trevaskis. Lancashire built again as Dane Vilas joined Croft in the middle, yielding a stand of 54 to whittle down the required total.
Raine removed Vilas for 20 when he was caught on the fence by Burnham. However, Croft kept Lancashire on course and was on the verge of scoring his second century of the season in the One-Day, only to fall agonisingly short on 99 when he was pinned lbw by Salisbury.
Croft's dismissal caused nerves in the Lancashire batting ranks. Josh Bohannon and Stephen Parry both lost their composure to put the pressure on the visitors. There was to be a twist in the tale when former Durham man Onions blasted two late sixes off Raine to ensure the Lancashire claimed the win with four balls to spare. The result leaves Lancashire in third place in the Royal London One-Day Cup North Group.
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