Lancs run out winners by 7 runs in thrilling Roses T20 clash
Lancashire are through to the quarter-finals of the 2020 Vitality Blast after a thrilling 7-run victory against Yorkshire Vikings at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Lightning produced an excellent display in the field that included three vital run-outs to successfully defend 167 after the visitors looked well set to chase down their target with five overs left.
Adam Lyth and Joe Root had compiled what looked to be a potential match-winning partnership of 91 before the three run outs turned the game around in a sensational finish.
There was a poignant moment before the start when the two teams, officials and staff lined up on the pitch to pay tribute to former Lancashire Chairman David Hodgkiss with a minute’s applause. He would have thoroughly enjoyed the denouement that followed.
The Lightning made two changes for the first day of domestic cricket at Emirates Old Trafford this season, with Saqib Mahmood returning from England duty and wicketkeeper George Lavelle making his T20 debut.
A record breaking partnership of 130 in 14 overs between Liam Livingstone and Steven Croft was mainly responsible for Lancashire reaching 167-6 after Dane Vilas had won the toss on the pitch used a day earlier for the England v Australia One-Day International.
The pair shrugged off the loss of Alex Davies to the third ball of the match to smash the record second-wicket T20 stand against Yorkshire of 83 by Mal Loye & Brad Hodge at Headingley in 2005.
Livingstone thumped Jordan Thompson for six and four from consecutive deliveries in the 3rd over while Croft did likewise off the same bowler two overs later, becoming the first Red Rose batsman to score 500 T20 runs against Yorkshire, as Lancashire ended the six over powerplay on 46-1.
Livingstone drove Dawid Malan for his third six to post the fifty partnership from 45 balls and the pair both hammered further maximums as Lancashire reached halfway well placed on 77-1.
Thompson then misjudged a catch at deep midwicket off Shutt to reprieve Livingstone, the ball going over the fielder’s head to hand the Lightning batsman a 33-ball fifty.
But when Livingstone was caught at long on off Thompson for 69 in the 15th over with the score 132-2, the innings faltered as only a further 35 runs were taken from the final 32 deliveries as wickets tumbled.
Joe Root bowled four excellent overs at the death to finish with the wickets of Croft for 58 off 45 balls and Rob Jones while conceding just 25 runs, and Duanne Olivier completed his four over stint with a valuable contribution of 2-25.
The Lightning struck an early blow in the third over of the Yorkshire reply when Malan drove Danny Lamb to Vilas at mid-on for 8.
But the experienced pair of Lyth and Root settled any White Rose nerves with a rapid fifty partnership off 30 balls.
Returning to the Yorkshire line up the day after playing for England on the same ground, Root was quickly into his stride, hitting two fours and a six from consecutive Luke Wood deliveries in the following over.
The England Test skipper went to his half century when top edging a sweep for four from his 26th delivery faced and the Yorkshire duo were progressing smoothly towards their target before Lyth was run out for 45 after misjudging a second run and beaten by Davies’ throw to leave the Vikings on 115-2 at the end of the 13th over.
Incredibly Root fell in near identical fashion, diving in vain going for a second run but just beaten by Croft’s superb throw from the deep after making an accomplished 64.
That left Yorkshire requiring 36 off 26 balls, reduced by six from Harry Brook who pulled to square leg but was then lbw to Livingstone for 15 from the next ball.
Another great piece of work by Davies effected a third run out, Will Frain the man to go as the visitors faltered, still needing 20 off 15 balls.
Thompson holed out to Jones at long off from Parkinson’s final ball to leave 12 needed off the last over, but Mahmood closed the game out superbly to see the Lightning home by seven runs.
“It was a nice short boundary with the wind blowing that way and I managed to get a few out of the middle which was nice,” grinned Man of the Match Liam Livingstone who top-scored with 69.
But Livingstone felt run scoring was far from easy as the game progressed.
“You look at the way we collapsed a little bit after we lost the wicket (that ended our partnership).
“We knew that when they had their partnership, if we could get one wicket it would be difficult (for the new batsmen) coming in on that pitch against the old ball.
“It was about just trying to hang on in there as long as we could, to try and get a wicket and we knew it would be tough to chase down from there.”
The Lightning are now aiming to try and clinch a home quarter-final tie when they return to action tomorrow afternoon at 4pm with Durham visiting Emirates Old Trafford.
Photos: Barry Mitchell, Getty Images