Lancs win three-run Vitality Blast thriller against Notts
Lancashire Lightning won a titanic battle with Notts Outlaws by just three runs in a Vitality Blast thriller at Emirates Old Trafford tonight.
The Lightning fought their way back from a poor start with the bat to post a total of 151-6 that their bowlers defended superbly in a frantic finale.
Needing 31 runs from the final two overs the Outlaws captain Dan Christian took his side close after hitting three sixes in the 19th over but his unbeaten 41 off 24 balls went unrewarded when James Faulkner bowled a superb last over when twelve runs were required.
Two runs came from the first two balls and with Christian crucially off strike, Faulkner took two wickets in two balls to leave ten required from the final two balls, a task too far for the Outlaws.
Yet the visitors had been well placed for much of the run chase despite losing Joe Clarke lbw to Richard Gleeson from the first ball of the innings and having Ben Duckett caught by Maxwell at mid-off for 13 off Gleeson to leave the Outlaws on 29-2 at the start of the 4th over.
Alex Hales and Samit Patel looked comfortable in adding 36 runs from 28 balls until Hales, on 29, top edged a pull to Maxwell on the midwicket boundary to give Matt Parkinson his 50th T20 wicket in his 29th match-the third fastest in T20 history to the 50-wicket mark.
That left Notts on 65-3 in the 9th over but Patel and Tom Moores steadily advanced the Outlaws’ run chase with 31 runs in 27 balls before both departed in quick succession.
The Lancashire spin trio of Parkinson, Liam Livingstone and Maxwell applied a mid innings squeeze that gradually pegged the Outlaws back.
Moores attempt to hit out ended on 18 when the wicketkeeper skied a catch to Maxwell at wide long off from the bowling of Liam Livingstone to depart for 18 while in the following over Patel recklessly pulled Matt Parkinson to Alex Davies at mid-wicket after making 34.
When Livingstone trapped Imad Wasim lbw for 1, three wickets had fallen for 5 in 11 balls to turn the game around for Lancashire with Notts now needing 50 runs off 32 balls.
Parkinson struck again to have Luke Wood stumped by Vilas to put the Lightning well on top for the first time in the match with the three spinners having combined for 10 overs with collective figures of 5-57 to swing the game back in the Lightning’s favour.
Christian however never gave up and took his side close in a thrilling finale, but the Lightning held on to extend their lead at the top of the North Group table at the halfway stage of the qualifying competition.
That the Lightning attack had any sort of total to defend was due to an outstanding record breaking partnership between Maxwell and Dane Vilas after Notts had decimated the Lightning top order batting.
The pair added 107 runs from 66 balls to set a new T20 fifth wicket record for Lancashire after the Lightning had slumped to 35-4 in the 9th over and looked destined to post a low total.
In an explosive start Luke Wood produced some pacey deliveries to bowl both Alex Davies-from the first ball of the match-and Steven Croft and leave Lancashire 2-2 after one over.
Lightning woes increased when Livingstone missed an attempted ramp shot and was bowled for 3 by the left-arm Pakistan spin bowler Imad Wasim in the 4th over.
And Keaton Jennings became the fourth batsman to depart after the left-hander was tempted down the wicket by Patel and stumped by Moores for 16.
Maxwell and Vilas engineered a remarkable recovery, the pair cautiously rebuilding the innings with the boundary struck by Maxwell midway through the 11th over just the third of the innings.
Vilas joined in by hitting his first four as 13 runs were taken from the 12th over bowled by Zak Chappell and the Lightning skipper pulled Harry Gurney to the mid-wicket boundary to bring up the 50 partnership off 37 balls in the 15th over.
Maxwell reverse pulled Gurney for the evening’s first six as 16 runs were plundered from the 18th over before going to his fifty off 39 balls when driving Wasim for four to long on.
A second Maxwell six over square leg off Wasim saw 20 runs come from the 19th over before Vilas fell for a fine 46 off 36 balls when lbw to Gurney in the final over.
Maxwell departed for 73 from the penultimate ball with Lancashire finishing on 151-6 with 113 runs coming from the final 11 overs.
It was a useful looking total that proved in the end to be enough – but only just.
“I think at 35-4 in the ninth over things weren’t looking too peachy,” confessed Glenn Maxwell.
“It was nice to have two experienced players out there, to talk the game through, and to bat with someone who is in as good a nick as Dane probably helps,” he smiled.
“He hasn’t missed the middle of the bat all month. So it was nice to watch him go about his business.
“He took a lot of the pressure off me. I was able to just get into my innings on a wicket that was hard to get your timing on.
“For him to come out and play as he does, find the boundaries, find the gaps and run me-and the opposition- off my feet, I think he’s absolute superstar! We are very lucky to have him as captain.
“He’s a massive reason why we are where we are at this stage of the competition. If he can continue to show that form and that leadership it’s going to be great for us going forward.”
“To win from that position tonight is the sign of a really good side,” he added.
“When you have great momentum you can sometimes win games that you probably shouldn’t have won. At four for thirty-odd that was probably a game you maybe shouldn’t win.
“But for us to keep believing and get to a score that gave our bowlers something to defend gives us a lot of confidence.”
Photos: Barry Mitchell