Lancashire seal Blast quarter-final berth with four-wicket Roses victory
Lancashire reached the Vitality Blast quarter-finals after clinching a four-wicket victory against Yorkshire with an over to spare in a low-scoring but absorbing Roses clash at Emirates Old Trafford.
Luke Wood returned career-best figures of 4-20 as part of a fine bowling effort to restrict the Vikings to 128-7 from their 20 overs.
But after Finn Allen and Keaton Jennings had made an explosive start by taking 37 off the 15 deliveries of the Lightning reply, the Vikings fought back well to take the game into a tense finale with Lancashire finally sealing their place in the last eight from the final ball of the 19th over.
In a sensational start Wood took two wickets in his first over, the 3rd of the match, to send back Yorkshire openers, Adam Lyth with his first ball and Mark Stoneman off the fifth after the Vikings had won the toss and opted to bat.
Dane Vilas took one of the best leg side catches by a wicketkeeper seen at Emirates Old Trafford when he dived far to his right to take the glance played by Lyth one-handed.
And Wood nipped one back that Stoneman inside edged onto his stumps to leave the Vikings on 12-2.
The Lightning bowlers kept up the pressure with some accurate line and lengths to restrict the visitors to just 27 runs from the six over powerplay and only 56 at halfway.
Joe Root and Harry Brook could only manage to hit just four boundaries in their 48-run partnership before Wells bowled Brook for 22 midway through the 11th over.
Gary Ballance finally got after the bowling hitting 13 off Luke Wells in the 15th over but it was one of only two overs where Lancashire conceded in excess of ten runs from an over.
Root edged behind off Hurt off the second ball of the 16th over after making 32 off 37 balls with Yorkshire struggling to make any headway on 91-4.
Wood returned to take two wickets in two balls; Ballance bowled for 31 and Jordan Thompson caught and bowled to leave the Vikings 101-7 after 17 overs.
Will Fraine (22 not out) and Dom Bess scrambled 18 off the final two overs to reach what looked like a below par 128-7.
Allen and Jennings began the Lightning reply explosively with 37 runs off 15 balls, the pair hitting five fours before Allen thumped consecutive sixes off Lyth in the second over.
Both perished on the same score, Jennings on 15 driving Lyth to Root at mid-on and Allen bowled for 22 by Matthew Fisher aiming to clip the bowler to midwicket.
Lancashire pushed on nicely from that point to reach 57-2 by the end of the powerplay before three wickets fell for 7 runs in 13 balls as the visitors hit back.
Alex Davies was run out for 13 by Thompson’s throw from cover, Rob Jones swept Bess to Fisher on the square leg boundary for 5 and Vilas was caught reverse sweeping Bess by wicketkeeper Harry Duke for 9.
Steven Croft and Wells used all their experience to settle the innings with a patient partnership that keep the target in sight through the second half of the innings.
With 35 needed off 30 balls Wells drove Root for a straight six while Croft slog swept Lyth for six over midwicket to ease the pressure that had been slowly building.
That reduced the target to 15 required from the final three overs, although Croft was involved in a bizarre moment from the first ball of the 18th over, collapsing in the middle of the wicket after attempting a quick single.
The umpires called dead ball and thankfully after treatment for cramp Croft was fit to continue his innings, the all-rounder contributing a vital unbeaten 26 off 29 balls.
Wells was bowled by Matthew Waite for 30 to end a vital 54-run partnership but with just 11 required off 14 balls by then the game had finally swung Lancashire’s way for good.
Lamb finished it with consecutive fours off Fisher to seal the victory with six balls to spare with Lancashire finishing unbeaten at home in the Blast this season.
The Lightning will be away in the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.
“We knew we had to win all three games,” said Player of the Match Luke Wood.
“We’ve got a good record at home but you can’t rely on that. You have to put the performances in.
“But the last three games have been great. We’ve showed what quality we have.
“We’ve had some tough times in this competition, especially away from home. I think we’ve rectified that at home and showed what we are about.
“We got momentum in this at the right time. We are through and that was what we set out to achieve at the start of the season.
Wood was full of praise for the efforts of the whole squad who have stepped up to cover England selections.
“We were missing the England lads but the depth we’ve got is great. You look round our team and it’s a quality side.
And Wood was pleased to have made a significant contribution.
“It was nice (getting a personal best today),” he admitted.
“But I’ve probably not got as many wickets as I would have liked. I didn’t quite find my feet at the start but I’ve felt really good at the back end of this competition.
“Tonight I was a lot more disciplined and took on that senior bowler role and it’s worked out for me.”
Photos: Getty Images, George Franks & Luke Adams