Record breaker Mahmood propels Lancs to convincing win against Leics
Saqib Mahmood put himself in the Lancashire record books with another five-wicket haul as Leicestershire were blown away for 80 with the Red Rose enjoying a straightforward 9-wicket victory at Emirates Old Trafford today.
Mahmood-the leading wicket-taker in this season’s Royal London One-Day Cup-took his tally to 18 wickets so far with a superb spell of fast, accurate bowling that the Leicestershire batsman found too hot to handle. In returning the superb figures of 5-14 from his 10 overs, Mahmood also became the first Lancashire bowler to take consecutive five-wicket hauls in List ‘A’ one-day cricket following his 6-37 against Northants last Wednesday.
Little went right for the visitors after Dane Vilas won the toss and elected to bowl as Mahmood, bowling from the Statham End, removed the first four batsmen with a devastating 24-ball blast at the start of the innings. Mark Cosgrove fell lbw for 1 the ball after he had been dropped at cover. Then Paul Horton, one of five Leicestershire players with former Lancashire connections, edged a pacey delivery that bounced a little more than expected to Keaton Jennings at slip for 7, Colin Ackermann was bowled a quick delivery for 2 and Harry Dearden edged to slip leaving Leicestershire 32-4 in the 12th over.
Liam Hurt kept up the pressure striking with the last ball of his first over, Lewis Hill edging behind to Vilas for 7, and the fourth ball of his second with Arron Lilley caught down the leg side by Vilas for 1 with the visitors now in total disarray on 46-6.
James Anderson, returning to the team in place of Graham Onions, replaced Mahmood and found the edge of Callum Parkinson’s bat with a lovely outswinger, before pulling off a diving one-handed catch himself at mid-on to give Mahmood a fifth wicket to dismiss Ben Mike for 18.
Dieter Klein edged Glenn Maxwell to Jennings at slip for 0 and Rob Jones wrapped up the innings by bowling Gavin Griffiths for 4 to claim his first List A one-day wicket with Leicestershire 80 all out, their lowest total against Lancashire in List A cricket.
However Lancashire’s delight at such an outstanding effort from the bowling attack was tempered by the loss of Matt Parkinson, whose bad luck with injuries continued after the leg spinner damaged the webbing on his left hand attempting to stop a fierce drive by Mike off his bowling. He will be assessed in the next 24 hours.
By contrast, and under little pressure, Lancashire reached their target, for the loss of Jennings to an excellent catch at cover by Cosgrove off Klein for 10, from exactly 19 overs.
Steven Croft, who reached the landmark of 4,000 runs in List A cricket during his innings, pulled the first six of the match off Klein in the 12th over in making an unbeaten 37 in a partnership of 67 with Haseeb Hameed (27*), who finished matters with consecutive fours on the stroke of 3.30pm.
Lancashire’s next game is against Durham at South Northumberland C.C. next Tuesday.
Saqib Mahmood revealed that James Anderson, Test cricket’s most successful fast bowler, did him the honour of choice of ends to bowl from when play began. So, Saqib, no pressure then?!
“I thought he would just choose his own end (the James Anderson End),” Mahmood revealed, with a smile, “so (having been given the choice) I had to make the most of it!
“There was a bit in the wicket early doors and we put the ball in the right areas and got wickets.
Asked about his back-to-back ‘five-fors’, the first by a Lancashire bowler Mahmood added:
“I don’t think it will sink into after the one-day competition is over. I guess I’m in that little bubble where games are coming thick and fast. I’m not trying to think too far ahead, I’m just looking at my role in the team, how I can improve and then be ready to go again a couple of days.
“Put the ball in the right area is my mantra every ball. I really didn’t think about a ‘five-for’ today until late on when I got my fifth wicket and realised I could get another CB!”
The win puts Lancashire into contention for a top three spot in the North Group but Mahmood said:
“We’re not looking too far ahead. When someone does mention about games down the line they get reminded very quickly! Durham are next and they are going well. It’s being played on an outground, so we will see what challenges that throws up. But we turn up there, play our cricket and hopefully get a result.
“If you look too far ahead you forget what you are doing at the moment. Before you know it, it catches up with you.
“I think we are doing well as a bowling unit. Those first couple of games we were a bowler short. Since Notts when Liam Hurt came into the side we’ve been really good in every game.
“We had a few days off, so it was nice to pick up where we left off and get another win today. The games come quickly now so it was good to win early and hopefully we can take that into Tuesday. “
“It was a good day all round.”
Photos: Barry Mitchell
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