David and Gleeson combine to down the Rapids
Tim David came to Lancashire’s rescue with a scintillating innings of 60 from 25 balls while Richard Gleeson produced a career-best 5-33 as Lancashire Lightning defeated Worcestershire Rapids by 12 runs in a hugely entertaining Vitality Blast encounter at Emirates Old Trafford.
David pulled the innings around - while posting the highest score by a Lancashire number six batter in T20 - after the Lightning had slumped to 98-6 after 13 overs despite getting off to a fast start once Dane Vilas had won the toss.
And Gleeson turned the game around with two crucial wickets in the 18th over - while conceding just four runs - to halt the Rapids victory charge in its tracks.
David and Luke Wood put the Red Rose innings back on track with a new seventh wicket T20 best for the Lightning adding 81 runs off 39 balls to steer Lancashire to 183 by the end of their 20 overs – exactly the same score they posted against Yorkshire on Friday night.
First Keaton Jennings and Phil Salt made a blistering start with Salt hammering 29 off 12 balls which included taking one six and two fours off one Charlie Morris over.
Salt, who made a half-century on his Lightning debut on Friday, looked to be on for another big score but then became the first of three early wickets for Pat Brown when he top edged a leg cutter to Morris running back to take the catch at short third man.
Brown picked up his second wicket in two balls when Jennings pulled the first ball of the fifth over straight to Jake Libby on the square leg boundary.
And five balls later Vilas became the Rapids seamer’s third victim when he found Jack Haynes at mid-off to leave Lancs 54-3 after 5 overs.
Steven Croft and Liam Livingstone patiently rebuilt the innings, steadily accumulating to reach the halfway mark on 77-3.
Livingstone launched the second ball of the 11th over from Brett D’Olivera onto the Media Centre to signal his intent to accelerate but Croft’s attempt to do the same off Josh Baker at the start of the following over came up just short, landing into the hands of Morris at long on and leaving Lancashire on 86-4.
Livingstone smashed his second six over midwicket off Ed Barnard in the 13th over but perished two balls later when his attempt to the shot repeat just failed with D’Olivera taking a nicely judged catch inside the ropes.
When Danny Lamb was lbw to Barnard’s next delivery Lancashire had slumped to 98-6 and looked to be in some trouble.
David launched D’Olivera for a couple of sixes to put some momentum into Lancashire’s faltering innings and, well supported by Wood, then launched a ferocious assault on the Rapids that contained 4 sixes and 4 fours.
Waite was hammered straight for consecutive sixes, the first breaking the Lightning seventh wicket record partnership and the second taking the powerfully built Singaporean to a 21-ball fifty, the joint-second fastest half century for Lancashire in this competition.
Wood pulled Brown over midwicket for a six of his own as the pair finished strongly, David departing to a standing ovation when he was out for 60 off 25 balls in the final over with the Lightning posting a total of 183-7 and Wood unbeaten on 22 off 17 balls.
Worcestershire made a rapid start of their own taking 44 runs off the first five overs despite losing two wickets.
Pollock had hammered Gleeson’s third delivery over midwicket for six but then picked out Livingstone at deep square leg from the bowler’s fifth ball to depart for 12 in the second over.
Haynes unluckily dragged a wide Gleeson delivery back on to his stumps having made 12, the ball just trickling onto the wickets but hard enough to dislodge the bails.
But D’Olivera keep the visitors well in the hunt, hitting a couple of boundaries before launching Parkinson for consecutive sixes.
The leg spinner hit back, taking an excellent one-handed catch off his own bowling with the very next delivery to send back D’Olivera for 37 and strike a big blow with Worcestershire on 73-3 in the 9th over.
Rapids’ overseas batsman Colin Munro and Libby fought back splendidly with a fifty partnership off 36 balls.
Munro hit Lamb for his first six to the long midwicket boundary to bring the target down to 50 off 5 overs before posting his fifty off 32 balls.
Libby kept the visitors on track with a six off Parkinson from the last ball of the 17th over, but then Gleeson struck two decisive blows.
The Blackpool-born seamer produced a terrific yorker to bowl Libby for 33 to break a partnership of 79 from 53 balls that had looked to be taking Worcestershire to victory.
Three balls later Gleeson was celebrating a double success by trapping Munro lbw for 53.
Wood, who had a fine all-round game, backed that breakthrough up by running out Ben Cox for 3 with a direct hit after fielding the ball off his own bowling as the batters attempted to scamper a quick, desperate, single.
Wood then snared Waite for a duck from the next ball, caught by Jennings running back from cover, and the game was done.
There was still time for Gleeson to become just the fourth Lancashire bowler to take five wickets in a T20 match when Barnard holed out to Lamb in the final over with the Rapids ending on 171-8.
“I loved every minute, being back out there,” said a smiling Richard Gleeson.
“Taking wickets and getting the win is always nice.
“And it was great to be back out there and contributing. It’s what every bowler loves to do.
“To get a five-for in T20 is a difficult feat, so I’m very happy (with how it’s gone).”
Gleeson has fought injury problems over the past two seasons and he added:
“My pace was good in some of second eleven games I’ve played recently.
“So it was more a matter of can my body get through it to start with. Our medical team have been great. They’ve looked after me this winter and hopefully it’s the start of a comeback.”
“I’m aiming to just enjoy it and you can see the emotion pouring out when I take wickets. I’m enjoying every second.”
Gleeson acknowledged the importance of his second ‘spell’ at the end of the Rapids innings.
“I think it was an important time to come on and take those wickets ” he said.
“They were ticking (over), the game was in the balance, so to get those two wickets at that time was really important.
“It swung in our favour (then) and that’s what all the practise that you do for those situations.
“To have two games this week to be in that situation and get that responsibility, I’ve loved it.”
Gleeson has been impressed with Tim David in the opening two games.
“He’s been a great addition, a great lad in the dressing room," he said.
“He actually uses a long blade as well," addded Gleeson. "So I’m eying a couple of them up, the way he’s been striking the ball!"
“With his power he’s not just hitting it, he’s playing some proper shots. He’s been very impressive."
Photos: George Franks & Luke Adams