Lancashire Lightning into Vitality Blast quarter-finals after four-wicket win over Roses rivals Yorkshire Vikings at Emirates Old Trafford; hosts limit visitors to 127-8 as Luke Wood takes 4-20 and then target with over to spare after wobble with the bat
Yorkshire opted not to run out Lancashire’s Steven Croft after he slipped due to cramp – sparking a heated debate between Sky Cricket pundits Mark Butcher and Rob Key over whether they did the right thing.
Lancashire Lightning overcame a batting wobble to beat Yorkshire Vikings in a low-scoring thriller and join their Roses rivals in the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.
Luke Wood’s career-best T20 figures of 4-20 had limited Yorkshire to 127-8 and Lancashire looked set to coast past that total as, through Finn Allen (22 off 8) and Keaton Jennings (15 off 9), they raced to 37-0 in the third over.
But Lancashire then tumbled to 64-5 in the eighth and would have been 82-6 after 12 had umpire Ian Blackwell not turned down an lbw appeal from a Jordan Thompson delivery that ball-tracking suggested would have hit the stumps.
Wells (30 off 37) and Steven Croft (26no off 29) went on to add 54 for the sixth wicket and, once Wells fell, Croft and Danny Lamb (11no off 4) took Lancashire home with an over to spare.
Luke Wood took four wickets as Lancashire beat Yorkshire to reach the Vitality Blast quarter-finals
- Scorecard: Lancashire vs Yorkshire
There was a contentious moment when, with 15 runs required, Yorkshire sportingly opted not to run out Croft after he slipped while running.
A dead ball was officially called before Croft and Wells had crossed but Sky Sports commentator Mark Butcher felt Yorkshire would have been perfectly within their rights to dismiss the batsman.
Lancashire, Yorkshire and North Group table-toppers Notts Outlaws have sealed three of the four qualifying berths from their pool, with the final spot to be determined during Sunday’s final round of fixtures, with Birmingham Bears and Worcestershire Rapids the teams in contention.
The North Group is now being decided on a points per game basis with Derbyshire unable to fulfil their final two fixtures due to a Covid outbreak.
Defeat for Lancashire on Saturday would not have ended their hopes of progression but have left them relying on other results to go their way.
They did not require that scenario, though, after squeezing past Yorkshire, earning revenge for their defeat at Emerald Headingley on July 2 and preserving their unbeaten home record in the Blast this season.
Wood struck with his first ball, having Adam Lyth (8) caught brilliantly by Lancashire captain and wicketkeeper Dane Vilas down the leg-side, and then bowled on-loan Surrey man Mark Stoneman four deliveries later, after which point the hosts kept the run rate in check.
Wood then picked up two wickets in as many balls later in the innings when he castled Gary Ballance (31 off 21) and then caught Jordan Thompson (0) off his own bowling.
England captain Joe Root (32 off 37) struggled to get going as did Harry Brook, the leading run-scorer in the Blast this season, with the latter making 22 from 25 deliveries.
Allen nailed Lyth for two monster sixes over long-on from successive deliveries as the home side made a quick-fire start to the run chase – but things unravelled once he and Jennings were out in the space of four balls, with Alex Davies (13), Vilas (9) and Rob Jones (5) then departing.
Lancashire fought back, though, with Lamb sealing their victory when he hit back-to-back fours off Matt Fisher at the end of the 19th over.
Watch more Vitality Blast action live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6.15pm on Sunday as Somerset face Gloucestershire in the South Group.