Blast Report: Bears at Lightning
Matt Parkinson claimed 3-23 as Lancashire beat Birmingham Bears by 37 runs to make it back-to-back Vitality Blast wins and strengthen their grip on the quarter-final places.
The Lightning comfortably defended their total of 185-5, given to them by Karl Brown’s half-century and late-order firepower from Jordan Clark.
Victory keeps Lancashire third in the North Group table while Birmingham’s knockout hopes suffered a blow as they slipped to 6th.
Lancashire won the toss and chose to bat, but Birmingham made a strong start in restricting the opening pair in the powerplay and the first five overs were all bowled by spin.
The visitors handed a debut to off-spinning all-rounder Alex Thomson and he certainly didn’t disappoint. He struck in his first over to remove Lancashire’s in-form opener Alex Davies for 17.
In fact, Thomson took a wicket in each of his four overs to finish with fantastic debut figures of 4-35.
Lancashire’s standout performer was once again opener Brown. 24 hours on from his match-winning half-century against Yorkshire, he delivered another scintillating fifty having been given a life on 32 when Josh Poysden couldn’t hold a caught and bowled chance. The fifty from just 32 balls including three 4s and three 6s.
Brown shared a half-century stand with Dane Vilas to take Lancashire to a solid position of 82-2 at halfway. But Brown, like Vilas and Arron Lilley, was a victim of Thomson as the Lightning stuttered to 134-4 with five overs remaining.
Their late-order acceleration from Clark and James Faulkner, who came together after Steven Croft holed out in the deep, was pivotal for the hosts.
Clark blasted 41 from 25 balls and together they put on 45 in 23 balls as the Lightning took 51 from the final five overs of the innings to kick their total to 185-5.
Lancashire got their defence of to a great start, claiming three wickets inside the powerplay. James Faulkner got the crucial wicket of the Vitality Blast’s top run-scorer Ian Bell in the second over, bowling him for two.
Aaron Thomason and Ed Pollock also departed inside the first five overs, bowled by Steven Croft and run out by Alex Davies respectively. That left the Bears 26-3 and struggling in pursuit of Lancashire’s total.
Hope was given to them by a nice innings from Sam Hain. He raced to 34 from 22 balls with a lovely array of strokes and good running in partnership with Adam Hose.
But his dismissal triggered the beginning of the end for Birmingham as Parkinson all-but sealed the win for Lancashire with three wickets in four balls.
Hain was stumped by a smart bit of work by Dane Vilas and Colin de Grandhomme was bowled next ball. Parkinson had his hattrick attempt at the start of the next over and was denied one as his lbw appeal against Grant Elliot was turned down.
But the New Zealand international was stumped with the next delivery as Birmingham slipped to 75-6 in the 12th over, still needing another 111 to win.
They never looked likely to get there, despite Adam Hose’s 45 from 39, ultimately being bowled out for 149.
Lancashire face a trip to Durham then face Birmingham again at Edgbaston. Bears then wrap up the group stages with a mouth-watering derby against Worcestershire Rapids.