Six wickets for Mahmood as Lancs beat Northants
Six wickets by Saqib Mahmood, followed by half centuries from Keaton Jennings and Haseeb Hameed proved to be more than enough to win a rain-shortened Royal London One-Day Cup game against Northants by 45 runs on the DLS method.
Mahmood took a career-best 6-37, becoming just the fourth Lancashire bowler to take six wickets in one-day cricket and the first to do so for 21 years since Glen Chapple took 6-25 against Yorkshire in 1998, as the visitors totalled 269 all out. A century partnership by Jennings and Hameed kept Lancashire well ahead of the required rate before thunder and lightning, and heavy rain, ended proceedings at 5.30pm.
After Dane Vilas had won the toss, Mahmood made a sensational start bowling straight and with pace to take three early wickets and quickly put Northants on the back foot. The 22 year-old first took out Josh Cobb’s off stump and had Richard Levi caught by Steven Croft positioned at deep backward square leg before Alex Wakely edged a hesitant push that was superbly caught by Vilas diving away to his right. That left Northants in trouble on 26-3 in the 8th over but Ricardo Vasconcelos and Rob Keogh led a recovery, adding 75 for the 4th wicket across 17 overs.
Matt Parkinson, introduced for the 19th over, provided the next success when he turned a delivery sharply to bowl Vasconcelos for 50 and a fifth wicket fell moments later when Adam Rossington cut Graham Onions into the hands of Rob Jones at backward point without scoring to leave the visitors on 103-5 in the 26th over.
Northants fought back well, Keogh steadying matters in reaching his half century without hitting a boundary and gaining good support from overseas all-rounder Jason Holder in a partnership of 89 inside 16 overs. Keogh departed for 66, edging behind off Mahmood, but Holder thumped a couple of sixes to keep the visitors’ score moving along well.
It took an amazing relay catch on the boundary edge to end the stay of the Barbados overseas player for 72 after Glenn Maxwell initially took a brilliant catch running round from deep mid-wicket but in doing so was about to go over the rope at wide long-on. In one movement Maxwell leapt and threw the ball back and a diving Jones held on to a juggling catch to give Mahmood a fifth wicket and leave Northants 221-7 in the 45th over.
Luke Procter with 36 and Saif Zaib then added some useful runs to push Northants to 269 all out, with Procter out to the last ball of the innings.
In reply, Jennings and Hameed made the perfect start with a partnership of 130 and the pair looked untroubled by the Northants attack, shorn of pace bowler Holder who had required some treatment to his left leg while batting earlier.
Jennings produced an array of attacking shots all around the wicket in making 63 off 73 balls with 7 fours before being run out by a direct hit from Zaib while taking a quick single.
Maxwell (20 not out) thumped both the 7th and 8th balls he faced for six before Hameed edged Procter behind after making an assured 65, while Vilas (10 not out) cracked his first two balls for four before rain ended the game early with Lancashire miles ahead on 164-2 from 28.4 overs and declared winners by 45 runs on DLS.
Saqib Mahmood was delighted with his six-wicket performance and another win.
“We wanted to bowl first after winning the toss,” said Mahmood. “With rain forecast we wanted to control the game in the second innings and I thought we played the game we wanted to play. I’m delighted (about today), and happy we got the win as well.”
And the young pace bowler is desperate to make up for some stop-start seasons in recent times.
“The last couple of years I’ve missed out a lot, so I’m trying to make up for them now. And (the ball) is coming out well too,” he admitted. “I have Chappie coming up to me after every game with things I can work on and it’s a credit to the lads and the coaches, we are working on things after every game and we are getting better as a squad.
“Something I wanted to work on was the way I was bowling at the top (of the innings). I’ve done okay but gone at sixes and not picked up a wicket, so it was something I wanted to get right today and I did so I was happy with what I’ve achieved today.”
“If anything I tried not to try too hard today. Because I was a bit more relaxed the ball seemed to come out that little bit quicker. In the past I’ve tried to run in too hard and not got into the position’s I’ve wanted to so it was nice how it worked today.
It has been a tough time for bowlers in general in this year’s one-day cup and Mahmood added: “Trent Bridge and Headingley were flat wickets with short boundaries. It’s hard work.
“But the reality is with the way one-day cricket is going, wickets are going to be flat and batters are going to come hard at you. You just have to be on your game. There’s no margin for error. “
Glenn Maxwell and Rob Jones combined superbly to give Mahmood his fifth wicket and he added, with a grin: “When I saw Maxy under it I was pretty confident. It was a great catch, but in the end it says ‘caught Jones’ in the scorebook!
“It was outstanding work, but we’ve worked hard on our fielding in training and it’s good when you got out there on the pitch and everyone can see it.
Lancashire next play Leicestershire at Emirates Old Trafford this Sunday in the Royal London Cup and Mahmood said: “We lost at Notts but it could have easily gone the other way. We are playing some really good cricket and looking forward to the next game. “