Bowlers dominate as Lancs ease to 51-run victory against Hampshire
A superb bowling effort backed by a one-day best innings from Luke Wells helped Lancashire enjoy a comfortable 51-run victory against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method.
The result sees Lancashire top the Group 2 table at the halfway point of the qualifying stage of the Royal London Cup with seven points from 4 games.
The Red Rose attack produced a great performance after stand-in captain Tom Bailey had won the toss, bowling Hampshire out for 162 in 43.1 overs with three wickets apiece for Bailey and George Balderson and important contributions from the rest of the bowlers.
With rain a constant threat during the Lancashire reply it was important for the batsmen to keep an eye on the DLS par scores and Wells marshalled the reply brilliantly with an unbeaten 66 to seal the victory when a deluge ended play early after 24.3 overs of the Red Rose innings.
It was not all plain sailing though with Hampshire enjoying some early success during the run chase, taking an early wicket in the 5th over when Josh Bohannon top-edged a pull off John Turner to find Scott Currie at deep midwicket for 5.
With the floodlights having been switched on in gloomy conditions, Keaton Jennings cut Ian Holland for four to steer Lancashire to 30-1 after 10 overs and ahead by 4 runs on DLS.
Three driven boundaries by Wells off Holland in the 12th over eased those concerns but Jennings departure for 18 after edging James Fuller to wicketkeeper Lewis McManus put the game back in the balance with Lancashire two runs ahead on DLS at 44-2.
Rob Jones flicked Fuller to the midwicket fence to get off the mark but then settled to give Wells steady support with the pair ensuring they kept ahead of the DLS par scores.
It was Wells who kept the scoreboard ticking along with a steady flow of stylish boundaries, twelve altogether and most driven in the ‘V’ between long-off and long-on, in going to his first Red Rose List ‘A’ half-century from 51 balls at the start of the 22nd over with Lancashire far more comfortably placed by then on 85-2.
Wells pulled Currie to square leg for four to bring up the fifty partnership off 65 balls and Jones added two more in the same 24th over as the pair steadily progressed towards their target.
But with Lancashire on 115-2 and 48 runs away from their target, the heavens opened and a torrential downpour meant it was impossible to resume with Lancashire ahead by 51 runs on DLS.
Wells finished unbeaten on 66 and Jones was 24 not out with the pair having added 71 runs in 13 overs when play was finally called off at 5pm.
That Lancashire had a modest total to chase was down to a fine bowling display.
It was Bailey who starred with the ball during the early overs with a superb six-over opening spell of 2-16 that could easily have yielded more wickets as the Red Rose stand-in skipper consistently beat the bat.
The first wicket to fall was that of Tom Alsop who cut Bailey to Steven Croft at gully for 7 from the first ball of third over while Tom Prest edged to Jones at second slip for 7 to leave Hampshire on 21-2 in the fifth over.
Nick Gubbins has been in fine form in the Royal London Cup since his move from Middlesex this year and the left-handed batsman looked to be moving on swiftly to add to the century and fifty in this season’s one-day competition with two boundaries from his first four balls.
The in-form batsman continued to strike the ball with authority, but after reached 31 from 34 balls having driven Balderson’s first delivery in List A cricket through extra cover for his sixth four, he then steered the second ball to Croft in the gully to end a promising 43-run partnership with Joe Weatherley.
It was a key moment in the game and Balderson followed with two further dismissals to finish with 3-25 from his first one-day spell with the ball; Holland lbw for 1 in his next over and Weatherley also trapped in front for 18 in his fourth over, with the home side struggling badly on 81-5 by the 19th over.
McManus found support from Fuller and the pair produced a resilient and productive partnership that looked to be steadying the hosts’ innings, wicketkeeper McManus attacking with drives and cuts whenever possible.
But Fuller got a leading edge trying to work the returning Liam Hurt to the leg side with the bowler taking a comfortable return catch to break the 40-run partnership at 121-6 in 27th over.
Danny Lamb then nipped one back to trap Felix Organ lbw for 7 from last ball of the 30th over and George Lavelle produced some quick glove work to complete a smart stumping after left-arm spinner Jack Morley had tempted Currie forward.
Bailey returned to finish with a one-day best 3-23 and end a determined effort by McManus of 45 off 51 balls when the batsman got a leading edge that went high to Bohannon at cover.
Lamb (2-33) wrapped up the innings from the first ball of the 44th over when Kyle Abbott edged behind with Hampshire 162 all out.
George Balderson impressed with the ball today and he said: “I very much enjoyed it.
“It’s nice to be out there playing and contributing.
“Coming on first change is a responsibility but you want to be in those situations and taking wickets for the team.
“Tom Bailey bowled superbly at the start and set up the whole game for us.
“We have found some nice early form in this competition and we’ve made a really good start despite quite a lot of travelling in the last week.
“It’s been a good mix of players stepping up and putting in performances, which shows the depth in the squad we have at the moment.
“This competition is a great chance to win a trophy and for players to step up, so it’s a massive thing for us.”
Lancashire’s next Royal London Cup match is on Tuesday when Middlesex are the visitors at Emirates Old Trafford.
Photos: Luke Adams