Steven Croft Lancashire cricket column: To win the T20 Blast we need to bounce back again

Lancashire cricket has been back in Blackpool this week with both the women's Thunder side and the men's second XI in action
Lancashire cricket has been back in Blackpool this week with both the women's Thunder side and the men's second XI in action

We ended the group phase of the T20 Blast in disappointing fashion in Birmingham on Wednesday night.

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We didn’t bat as well as we should have and ended up paying the price.

It was a tricky pitch, which we didn’t see coming to be honest and we just didn’t adapt to the conditions quickly enough.

Personally I got a really good ball at Edgbaston.

I couldn’t really believe it. Leg-spinner Josh Poysden hadn’t bowled too well before that but I got a real ripper and was heading back to the pavilion.

It was a jaffa and there’s not really much you can do about them. I think Sky were still showing it when I was out in the field – at least I’d got half an excuse for getting out!

We should have posted more than 102. It was always going to be tough defend such a low score, but given the pitch just 20 more would have been competitive.

After our last loss against Durham 10 days or so ago we came out and put together three wins in a row.

Hopefully we can do the same again and that would see us win the competition.

That’s a long way away, though, and first and foremost we need to learn from the defeat and take those lessons into the quarter-final next week.

All eyes are on the game between Worcester and Birmingham tonight, with a Birmingham win giving us a home game in the last eight.

We could be playing the quarter-final as early as Thursday but first our attention briefly turns back to the County Championship and our day-night game against Surrey, which starts down in London on Sunday.

It should be an interesting few days.

All the reports we’ve had about the pink ball say that it’s not doing that much and is behaving a little bit like the white ball.

We travel down to London today and get the chance to practise under lights, which will be important.

For every night game the ground has to be made available for a practice under lights a day or two before.

It will give us a good look at what things are going to be like at The Oval.

Overall, it’s a good concept and I think the authorities got it right last year in that everyone played their day-night game on the same week. But this summer it’s a bit sporadic, with different teams playing at different times.

Our game is the only one over the next few days, which feels a bit

unfair.

If it’s only going to be one game with the pink ball it should be at the same time of year because conditions change.

It’s going to get darker that little bit earlier for us and that twilight period is changing all the time.

It seems a bit of a strange decision to have the games all over the place, but we have to get on with it and will be going there looking to put in a good performance.

On a personal note, I haven’t played as much red ball cricket as I would have liked this summer.

I got 150 for the second team recently and hopefully I’ll get an opportunity this weekend.

If I do, I’ll be looking to cement my spot in the red-ball side for the rest of the Championship season.

I want to contribute and help us stay in the first division, which is where we should be.

Elsewhere it’s been great to see Lancashire back at Blackpool Cricket Club this week.

The women picked up a win in their T20 competition and that will hopefully open more doors for the women’s game, which is just getting bigger and bigger.

The second team going there is also really good, Haseeb Hameed got a big 100 and it’s just good for people on the Fylde coast to see county cricket on a regular basis.

Away from Lancashire, I’ve signed up to act as Burnley’s sub professional for their T20 finals day on bank holiday Monday at the end of the month.

It will be a good little run-out for me in what hopefully won’t be my last finals day of the season.

The standard is good. The Lancashire League is a strong competition and crowds tend to be pretty big.

If we win our quarter-final it will be good practice for me. That’s how I’m seeing it.

Quite a lot of the usual professionals have gone home, so everyone is drafting people in.

It will be a good test for me and will hopefully come at just the right time.