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Lancashire Lightning fall short by two runs in thriller at Durham

Lancashire Lightning fall short by two runs in thriller at Durham

Both sides served up a Father’s Day feast at the Seat Unique Riverside as Durham beat North Group leaders Lancashire Lightning by two runs in a Vitality Blast thriller.

Graham Clark (87 from 57, eight fours and four sixes) and David Bedingham (78 from 42, seven fours and four sixes) combined for a 109-run partnership to help Durham to a mammoth total of 218 for three, their highest total against Lancashire in T20s.

With a massive total to chase, Lancashire needed to start their pursuit of runs quickly but the hosts continued to take wickets at regular intervals, with an unbelievable caught-and-bowled from Paul Coughlin and a three-wicket spell from Callum Parkinson guiding Durham to a first home win of this year’s Blast, which boosts their hopes of qualification.

However it didn’t go without a hitch for Durham as lower-order hitting from George Balderson, Jack Blatherwick and Chris Green almost took Lancashire to a famous win, but they fell short of the huge target.

Having won the toss, Durham skipper Alex Lees elected to bat first at Chester-le-Street.

Clark, who has now scored 171 runs in his last three Blast innings, looked good early on and pulled a Luke Wood ball for six to give the hosts a good start. 

Lees then joined the party and pummeled a Saqib Mahmood delivery down the ground for four to take the hosts past the 50 mark within the powerplay. 

Balderson then broke the hosts’ 81-run opening stand with the wicket of Lees for 30, after the Durham skipper holed out to long-off. 

The in-form Bedingham then continued Durham’s impressive start, with the South African picking up two consecutive fours from a Luke Wells over.

Clark then reached his half-century from 29 balls to take the hosts past 100 at the halfway mark and the opener then ruthlessly dispatched a free hit from Blatherwick over the legside boundary for six.

Lancashire managed to rein in Durham for a brief period, but Bedingham hit back-to-back boundaries off Wells to relieve some pressure. 

The number three then reached his half-century from 29 balls, with the milestone coming after he heaved one for six over cow corner.

Mahmood then got the impressive Clark when he was caught at deep backward point, before Bedingham then smashed one over his head for six to take the hosts past 200, but the South African star hit a Blatherwick ball straight to long-on in the last over and the hosts finished on 218 for three.

Lancashire’s reply got off to the worst possible start as Parkinson bowled Josh Bohannon for four in the first over. 

Wells struck the first blow of the Lightning innings as he smashed Matthew Potts for six over the legside boundary. 

With the clouds gathering around Chester-le-Street, it was vital for the hosts to grab some more wickets and Ashton Turner did just that as he removed Wells for nine after the opener holed out to Coughlin on the boundary.

With the DLS par score going up with every ball amid constant drizzle in the North East, skipper Keaton Jennings and Matthew Hurst got Lightning past 50 within the powerplay. 

Hurst was then dropped by Ben Raine off his own bowling and he made them pay as he hit back-to-back fours from a Coughlin over.

Then Coughlin produced a stunning piece of fielding that will be replayed for years to come when he caught the impressive Hurst from his own bowling for 32.

Falling behind the DLS score, Tom Bruce produced an inventive shot for four to get Lightning within reach. 

However, Nathan Sowter then got the big wicket of Jennings for 26 when he smashed one to the hands of Ben McKinney, and then Parkinson got his second of the day when he bowled Bruce to leave Lightning in a spot of bother.

Steven Croft was Parkinson’s third victim, but Green and Balderson fought back for the visitors, which gave the home side something to think about.

Green then smashed Potts for back-to-back sixes to give the visitors a sniff of an unlikely victory.

Green’s cameo of 38 came to an end at the hands of Raine, but Blatherwick came in and hit back-to-back sixes from Coughlin’s final over but he was then bowled for 17.

The visitors just fell short and lost by just two runs in a back-and-forth thriller.

Report by ECB Reporters Network
Images by Luke Adams/Dan Adams

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