Jennings century kicks off Vitality Blast with emphatic win
The opener made Lancashire Lightning's highest T20 score as the Red Rose beat Durham by 27 runs at Emirates Riverside
Keaton Jennings scored his maiden T20 century to haunt his former club Durham to hand Lancashire Lightning a winning start to their Vitality Blast North Group campaign at Emirates Riverside.
Jennings put the home side's attack to the sword with an outstanding knock of 108, sharing a record-breaking opening stand with Alex Davies of 170 for the Red Rose.
He blasted 10 fours and three sixes to reach three figures for the first time in the format, propelling his team to a total of 190/3 from their 20 overs.
Durham were under pressure from the off in their chase and were never able to match the required run rate. Alex Lees offered a resistance scoring 51 with a couple of maximums, but the total was always out of their reach, with the Lightning clinching the win by 27 runs.
Lancashire won the toss and elected to bat first in murky conditions under lights at Emirates Riverside. Jennings took the early initiative to get the scoreboard moving for the visitors. Davies waited patiently and capitalised in the fifth over, smashing Matty Potts for four boundaries in a row.
The Lightning openers continued to press and brought up their fifty partnership from the penultimate ball of the powerplay. Paul Coughlin was the next Durham bowler to struggle as Jennings drilled two boundaries to the fence, including a shoulder-high full toss that was signaled as a no ball.
Jennings continued his assault, reaching his half-century from only 33 balls in style clipping Carse over mid-wicket for a maximum. The six also brought up the century stand with Davies in the process in the 12th over, putting the visitors on course for a mammoth total.
Even the presence of Mark Wood could not yield a breakthrough as Jennings delivered another brilliant stroke to clear the rope - this time straight down the ground. Davies played a vital role at the other end rotating the strike, and he notched his fifty with a single off his hip into the leg-side from 42 deliveries.
Records tumbled for Jennings and the Lightning as he raced past his previous top score of 88 with a pull to the boundary - his ninth of the innings. A ball later Lancashire brought up their highest opening stand in the 20-over format - beating the 160 between Davies and Liam Livingstone against Derbyshire in 2018. The partnership was finally broken in the 18th over when Potts bowled Davies for 65.
However, Jennings was not to be denied his first T20 century, reaching the milestone from 60 deliveries. There was time for the left-hander to clear the rope for a third time before he was cleaned up by Rimmington.
Wood prevented the visitors from passing 200, but their total was imposing to say the least.
Durham's replay began in poor fashion, losing both Scott Steel and Graham Clark before the end of the third over, with the latter being run out off a free hit.
Lees and David Bedingham stabilised the innings, but were unable to provide the pace produced by the Lightning as the home side fell drastically behind the rate required.
The pair put on a stand of 64 for the third wicket before Steven Croft turned one past Bedingham and Davies completed the stumping, removing the South African for 33.
Lees tried to inject pace by blasting Tom Hartley over cow corner, and produced a similar stroke to bring up his half-century from 38 balls. However, once he was caught on the boundary off Matt Parkinson the Lightning closed out the victory, despite a late flurry of boundaries from Brydon Carse.
Memberships for Vitality Blast 2021 are now on sale from £35, allowing access to all Lancashire Lightning home games next season.