Lancashire beaten in Liverpool last-ball nailbiter

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler
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Lancashire couldn’t make it two wins out of two in the NatWest Blast, losing to three-time champions Leicestershire in a Liverpool thriller which went to the final ball.

The Foxes chased down 174 for a three-wicket win, led by Colin Ackermann with a measured 62 not out off 41 balls.

The South African hit the last ball of the match for six with two needed.

The Lightning, who had won their opener at Durham on Friday, posted 173-9 after being invited to bat as Liam Livingstone hit 48 off 33 balls and Jos Buttler 39 off 21.

They shared 72 in 6.1 overs for the fourth wicket but visiting captain Clint McKay impressed with 3-29.

They lost three wickets in the power play as McKay removedArron Lilley and Steven Croft in successive balls to leave the hosts 40-3 on a glorious day at Aigburth.

Danny Lamb’s six off Gavin Griffiths was the only boundary in the final seven overs as Lancashire struggled in the second half of their innings.

The Foxes chase got off to the perfect start as Luke Ronchi lofted the first ball from off-spinner Lilley for a straight six and he shared 42 inside four overs for the first wicket with Cameron Delport, though the pair fell in the space of three balls, Ronchi caught at cover off left-arm spinner Stephen Parry’s first ball.

Mark Cosgrove and Ackermann quickly and put the Lightning back under pressure with a 61-run stand as the visitors reached 99-2 at halfway.

Cosgrove fell for 34 off 21 balls but Ackermann stuck around to reach his 50 off 35.

Tight bowling at the death made for a close finish and six needed off Kyle Jarvis’ final over.

It looked like going Lancs’ way as Mat Pilans was run out off the penultimate ball but Ackermann finished with a flourish.

Lancashire captain Croft said: “We weren’t quite there in all disciplines. We came back into the game very well but made bad decisions at crucial times. We probably didn’t deserve to win.

“I thought we got a competitive total. We were unsure what a good total was, having not played here (in T20) for a long time (2009). That’s the benefit of bowling first. If we’d bowled well, we still could have kept them down.”

Ryan McLaren missed the game with a hip injury and Junaid Khan should arrive from Pakistan in time for Friday’s next match at home to Yorkshire.