Report by Graham Hardcastle
Key contributions from Jos Buttler and Stephen Parry led Lancashire to an opening round Royal London one-day Cup win by 42 runs over Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford.
Buttler hit a typically creative 91 off 73 balls to underpin the Lightning’s 296 for eight, which also included half-centuries for Martin Guptill (50) and captain Steven Croft.
Left-arm spinner Parry, who has also played alongside Buttler in England’s one-day team since the last RL50 campaign, then put the squeeze on the chase with an excellent three for 43 from ten overs as Warwickshire finished with 254 for nine.
Third-wicket pair Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell had put their side on course to reach 297.
They had taken the score from 85 for two in the 19th over to 174 for two in the 35th on an excellent Emirates Old Trafford surface.
But wily Parry, in particular, and seamer Nathan Buck turned the screw with some tight bowling.
Parry had Trott superbly caught at cover by Croft before later getting Laurie Evans in identical fashion.
He had earlier got Will Porterfield caught at mid-wicket by the same man for 40, with each of Croft’s three catches all diving efforts.
In the final reckoning, Croft actually finished with four catches.
From the start of the 33rd over to the end of the 42nd, Warwickshire had slipped from 163 for two to 198 for five, with Jordan Clark also bowling Tim Ambrose. When he departed, the equation was an unlikely 100 off 51 balls.
Trott, who passed 9,000 List A runs in the process, posted 66 and Bell went on to make 73.
But the innings of the day belonged to Buttler, who hit ten fours and a six.
Remarkably, it was Buttler’s List A debut for Lancashire despite joining from Somerset ahead of 2014 – and it was his highest score for the county in both forms of limited overs cricket.
There was only one century partnership in the match. Buttler and Croft – 67 off 70 – shared 122 inside 19 overs for Lancashire’s fifth wicket to advance from 118 for four after 24 overs, and it was a fifth-wicket record stand for the Lightning against Warwickshire.
Both men hit a six, straight in Buttler’s case and over long-on for Croft. Buttler was typically inventive, scooping Rankin for successive boundaries at one stage.
Boyd Rankin finished with four for 66 from ten overs.
Buck later got Bell caught and bowled off a top-edge at the start of the 48th over as he attempted to cut loose with Warwickshire needing 57 off the last three.
Lancashire, including four players making their List A debuts for the county, bowled extremely well. One of those debutants, Buck, finished with two for 53 from ten.
Tom Smith also returned three for 45 from eight, including two wickets in the last over.
Warwickshire captain Ian Bell said: “It was an outstanding toss to win. We definitely wanted to bat first, and we saw that it got harder and harder as the game went on.
“I think Jos Buttler was the difference in the way he played. He showed the options you need to turn a par score into one above par. Without him in the side, they’d have probably only got 260, which we would have been very confident in chasing. To all our young players watching that, they can learn a lot from the shots he used, the angles he created and the calmness he had.
“We would have to have had an outstanding last 15 or 20 overs (after losing three for 30 odd in middle). We were going alright. Having played a lot of cricket here, I knew we needed to go hard at the top to make sure the rate in the middle was manageable. Myself and Trotty got a good partnership going, ticking along at sixes, but it was always going to be hard for new guys coming in. That’s why the toss was so important.”