Steven Croft celebrates career milestone in Blackpool by leading Lancashire to thrilling Royal London One-Day Cup win over Nottinghamshire

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Blackpool native Steven Croft’s breathtaking century on his 600th career appearance led Lancashire to a thrilling Royal London One-Day Cup win over Nottinghamshire as they chased down 339 at Stanley Park.
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Croft’s unbeaten 115 off 105 balls was the key contribution in setting up a semi-final tie with Sussex at Hove on Tuesday,

The 37-year-old steered his side to a three-wicket win with nine balls remaining to delight a 1,000 strong crowd.

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Steven Croft scored a century in his home town on his 600th Lancashire appearanceSteven Croft scored a century in his home town on his 600th Lancashire appearance
Steven Croft scored a century in his home town on his 600th Lancashire appearance

Lancashire were in a spot of bother at 237-6 in the 38th over and needed 85 off the last 10.

But Croft shared 94 with seventh-wicket partner Danny Lamb, who contributed a crucial 43 before falling with only eight runs needed.

Nottinghamshire’s 338-8 was underpinned by an excellent 104 off 122 balls from opener Ben Slater, while Matthew Montgomery contributed 78 and Sol Budinger 56.

After conceding 79 without success in 10 overs, Lancashire could have been chasing a target similar to the 371 they overhauled against Northamptonshire at the same ground a week earlier.

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George Balderson, Lamb and Luke Wells dragged things back for a side who lost in-form batter Rob Jones to an ankle injury minutes before the toss.

Budinger hit two of three sixes down the ground, leading a 98-run opening stand inside 15 overs before pulling Balderson to deep midwicket.

Lyndon James and Haseeb Hameed were caught and bowled by Croft and Lamb (167-3 after 31) before Slater and Montgomery shared 72.

Slater reached his century off 117 balls. And just before he drilled Liam Hurt to mid-off, leaving Notts at 239 for four in the 42nd, he was within a whisker of overtaking Hain’s world leading List A average.

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Montgomery hit two sixes before becoming the second of three wickets for Lamb, who was hoisted for two straight sixes by Dane Paterson in a last over costing 19.

Notts hung tough impressively in the early stages of Lancashire’s chase as the hosts reached 119-3 in the 18th over, with two wickets for Paterson.

In-form opener Wells pulled a couple of sixes into the adjoining park off Toby Pettman but then top-edged a pull to Paterson for 47.

Either side of that wicket, Red Rose captain Keaton Jennings feathered Brett Hutton behind before Josh Bohannon was caught at cover off Paterson for 37.

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Lancashire reached halfway at 162-3, with Croft and Dane Vilas nearing their half-century partnership.

Vilas was dropped by Hameed at midwicket but pulled the next ball to the same man and was caught brilliantly for 29.

A Hutton full toss accounted for Balderson before George Lavelle found long-on off Montgomery, leaving the score at 237-6 in the 38th.

But then came the partnership of Croft and Lamb, the former sweeping both his sixes over midwicket as 20 came off Fateh Singh’s left-arm spin in the 45th over to leave 41 needed.

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Croft’s century came off 95 balls but his celebration was reserved compared to that when he hit the winning runs.

Lancashire's four visits to Blackpool this summer have resulted in three thrilling victories (and only one washout), two of them against Nottinghamshire.