Mahmood shines as Lancashire overcome Yorkshire
Lightning win by nine runs in close encounter at Emerald Headingley
Lancashire claimed their third successive Roses Vitality Blast win, by nine runs, as they defended 170 to silence a sold-out Emerald Headingley.
England Lions fast bowler Saqib Mahmood claimed three wickets, including the key scalp of West Indies overseas star Nicholas Pooran for 43 off 31 balls in the 18th over with the game on the line after the Lightning’s challenging 170 for six.
Yorkshire failed to get 23 off the last two overs with three wickets in hand and then 19 off the last with one remaining, finishing on 161 for nine.
The Lightning completed the North Group double last year and have now won two from three games this, added to a No Result.
Yorkshire, for who debutant off-spinner Jack Shutt returned two wickets, have now lost two of four with one win.
Lancashire’s innings included three scores of 25 from openers Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone and Australian overseas Glenn Maxwell, playing against his former county.
Livingstone was a surprise inclusion by the Red Rose following just over three weeks out with a strained intercostal. He played second-team cricket earlier this week, but hadn’t been named in their match day squad.
Apart from captain Dane Vilas, who hit three fours and as many sixes in 43 off 24, nobody else really got into sixth gear on a good pitch.
Barnsley-born Shutt, 22, bowled nicely and claimed the wickets of Steven Croft and Livingstone caught at long-on and long-off, the former with only his third ball as the Lightning slipped to 62 for two in the eighth over. His figures were only dented by going for 17 in his last over, the 14th, as Maxwell and Vilas attacked him.
Seamer Jordan Thompson was the pick of the Vikings bowlers with one for 25 from four overs, making the initial breakthrough when he had Davies caught behind.
Captain Vilas really put Yorkshire under pressure with some powerful and inventive hitting and shared 61 for the fourth wicket with Maxwell. And with them together at 138 for three after 15 overs, a total of 200 was not completely impossible.
Instead, both departed and only 32 more runs were scored.
Lancashire made an excellent start to their defence, despite conceding 10 off the first four balls, including a Tom Kohler-Cadmore six against Croft’s off-spin over long-off. Croft then bowled Adam Lyth sweeping before Saqib Mahmood bowled Kohler-Cadmore as the score fell to 16 for two in the second over.
Like team-mate Livingstone, fast bowler Mahmood was also returning from injury - nearly three weeks out with an abdominal problem. But Willey and Harry Brook shared 62 inside eight overs to get their side back on track.
Shortly after Willey swept Matthew Parkinson’s leg-spin to deep mid-wicket to fall for 32, Yorkshire moved to 81 for three after 10 overs, needing 90 more for victory.
Brook then fell for 30 when he skied a catch to James Faulkner at point off Richard Gleeson - 97 for four in the 13th.
Pooran, dropped on eight later in the over by Croft back peddling from mid-off, then smashed three leg-side sixes off Parkinson to leave Yorkshire needing 41 off four.
But Gary Ballance was run out at the start of the 17th before Mahmood returned in the 18th to bowl Pooran, heaving to leg, and trap Dom Bess lbw as Yorkshire fell to 140 for seven.
Faulkner then also struck before a further run out off Olivier, with Thompson failing to get his side over the line.
Buy your Vitality Blast tickets
Don’t forget to buy your tickets to watch Lancashire Lightning in the second home Vitality Blast fixture of the summer against Worcestershire Rapids on Friday 26 July.