Lightning down Vikings again at Headingley
A fifth wicket stand between Dane Vilas and Rob Jones led Lancashire to a six-wicket win, taking a huge step towards Vitality Blast qualfication
Lancashire Lightning took a significant step towards reaching the Vitality Blast quarter-finals with a commanding six-wicket win against Yorkshire Vikings at Emerald Headingley.
A record, unbroken fifth wicket partnership between Dane Vilas and Rob Jones saw the Lightning home with 13 balls to spare after the bowlers restricted Yorkshire to 145/9.
Luke Wood, on Roses T20 debut, took 3/21 off four overs while Matt Parkinson also took 3/25, including the key wicket of the world's number one ranked T20 batsman, Dawid Malan.
The Vikings were without Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Josh Poysden and captain David Willey due to COVID-19 protocols, and the Lightning dominated most of the game to come away with another Roses T20 win at Headingley.
Yorkshire actually made an excellent start, reaching 62/1 after six overs having elected to bat before stumbling to 145/9 after 20 overs as Lancashire's spinners took a stranglehold on proceedings.
The Lightning then recovered from 77/4 in the ninth over as captain Vilas top-scored with 44 not out off 36 balls, winning with 2.1 overs to spare.
They have consolidated second spot in the North Group with a fourth win, moving to 10 points - two behind leaders Nottinghamshire. More importantly, they are four points ahead of Yorkshire on six points in fourth.
Both teams have three games remaining, including Thursday’s return clash at Emirates Old Trafford. The top two teams from the three groups qualify for the quarters, as do the two best third-placed teams.
After a racing start, Yorkshire’s innings fell away through the middle, with leg-spinner Parkinson striking twice in his first three balls to remove Malan (27) and former England Under-19s all-rounder George Hill.
The Vikings slipped from 78/1 in the ninth over to 87/4 in the 11th, with stand-in captain Adam Lyth also falling for an innings-high 36 having been dropped twice.
Lyth and new opening partner Harry Brook (17) took 15 off each of the first two overs. Both men pulled huge sixes into the Western Terrace.
Brook was the first wicket to go in the third, brilliantly caught by a diving Tom Hartley running around from short third-man off Wood.
After Lyth was stumped off Hartley’s left-arm spin, Malan was the first of the two wickets to fall in Parkinson’s first over when he was caught at deep mid-wicket on the slog sweep.
Two balls later, Hill chipped to cover and wickets continued to fall in excellent batting conditions as spin dragged things back for a somewhat lucky Lightning side who dropped a trio of catches.
Wharton, like Hill, was caught at cover off Parkinson - 104/5 in the 15th - before Mat Pillans was stumped off Liam Livingstone’s leg-spin almost two overs later as the score fell to 121/6
Left-arm seamer Wood then snapped a run of five wickets to spin when he struck twice in the 17th over, getting Jordan Thompson LBW and Will Fraine caught behind for 24 - 124/8. Danny Lamb got Ben Coad in the last over of the innings.
Coad then conceded six wides with the first two balls of the Lancashire reply before Pillans and Thompson removed openers Livingstone and Davies.
Livingstone was caught behind and Davies holed out to deep square-leg as the score fell to 35 for two in the fourth.
Lancashire maintained a healthy run-rate, only to lose Steven Croft (27) run out following a mix-up with Vilas and Josh Bohannon bowled via inside-edge by Coad in successive overs - 77/4 in the ninth.
But Vilas and Rob Jones steadied the ship with Lancashire’s best fifth-wicket partnership in the history of this fixture, an unbeaten 71 inside 10 overs, beating the previous best of 51 set by Karl Brown and Gareth Cross way back in 2011.
Jones hit a six over long-on in a career best 38 off 35 balls and hit the winning runs to ensure the Lightning are now unbeaten in this fixture since August 2017.