Lightning were well beaten by Northamptonshire Steelbacks by seven wickets at Wantage Road on Friday night, a week after their seven-match unbeaten start in the Blast had ended with a two-wicket defeat to Durham.
Struggling Durham are the second of their opponents at Stanley Park on Thursday, after the Red Rose entertain Nottinghamshire Outlaws in Sunday’s first match at Blackpool for the county men’s first XI for four years.
In between those two Blast defeats, Lancashire have won a thrilling County Championship clash with Warwickshire and they are still top of their group in the Blast with five games to play, though now only on run rate from the Steelbacks.
Josh Cobb made Lancashire pay for dropping him before he had got off the mark on Friday, his 57 off 32 balls included three sixes as the hosts chased down a target of 154 with 22 balls to spare.
Ben Curran provided great support with 50 of his own against a Lancashire side who could only muster 153-7, despite skipper Dane Vilas’ 38 and an explosive 31 from 10 balls from Tim David.
Lancashire opted to bat but struggled for fluency until Vilas provided much needed momentum as he dominated a 50-stand with Steven Croft
Jack White forced Vilas to hole out at mid-on but that brought Lancashire’s leading run scorer in the competition, David, to the crease.
The all-rounder hit Freddie Heldreich for four successive sixes, though the young spinner gained recompense for the bruising when Croft lofted him to White in the deep from the final ball of the over.
David was then dropped at deep square by Saif Zaib only to be caught next ball and after he departed Lancashire mustered just two boundaries in the remainder of their innings.
Emilio Gay (30) , took two early fours off Croft, then Ben Curran took up the mantle with three fours off another Gleeson over before David’s eventful night continued as he reprieved Cobb on nought, failing to lay a hand on a mishit which went for four.
Cobb set about making the most of the let-off, belting Luke Wells into the crowd before clattering Gleeson onto the top of the burger stall beneath the main scoreboard as the 100 came up inside 10 overs.
Cobb was missed again on 40, Tom Hartley grassing the chance at backward point, and he made the errant fielder pay, slapping him for a straight six. Cobb moved to 50 soon afterwards from 28 balls before being caught in the deep off Matt Parkinson.
Curran’s own 50 came from 12 balls more, and although he fell on the brink of victory the Steelbacks coasted.
Lancashire skipper Vilas said: “It wasn’t a great performance all-round from us but credit to Northamptonshire – they came out and played really good cricket with both bat and ball, and they deserved to win.”
Lancashire’s Blackpool opponents occupy two of the bottom three positions in the group and Sunday’s clash with the Outlaws starts at 2.30pm.