There’s an old adage in cricket that you should never judge a score until both teams have batted. Never has that proved more accurate. Durham, having won the toss, failed to even bat out their overs and posted a target of 156 which seemed to be at best under par, at worst very disappointing.
That was despite Mark Stoneman’s best T20 score of 57. Having been in a commanding position at 104/2 after 11 overs, Durham collapsed by losing eight wickets for 50 runs in 8.1 overs.
Lancashire never looked fluent but had a standout performer in Ashwell Prince, who himself hit a career-best T20 score of 78. While he was batting so well, Lancashire, though behind the rate, always had a chance. But this was to prove a tale of two collapses. The Lightning lost five wickets for four runs in eight balls to end on 139/9 – 16 runs short of their target.
Lancashire started well as they restricted the Durham openers to just 12 runs off the first two overs. When Tom Bailey bowled Phil Mustard round his legs with a slow full toss in the third, the score was 18/1 and the hosts were dominant.
Stoneman and Calum MacLeod set about kicking on. They had pushed the score on to 52/1 at the end of the fifth. The introduction of Jordan Clark broke the dangerous partnership. MacLeod attempted the paddle sweep but succeeded only in hitting the ball onto his own stumps. At the end of the Powerplay, The Jets had reached 59/2 and the game was evenly poised.
Steven Croft turned to spin and the next three overs went for just 22. Stoneman was still going strong and passed his 50 in the 11th over. His partnership with Paul Collingwood also passed the 50 mark off just 34 balls and Durham were in a strong position at 105/3 in the 12th over.
Crucially, Lancashire made a breakthrough and Collingwood was on his way when he tried to paddle sweep Arron Lilley but got a top edge through to keeper Alex Davies. And that partnership was in operation again in the 14th over when Stoneman fell for his best T20 score of 57 (38). He dashed down the wicket at Lilley and was stumped by Davies. When Ryan Pringle was trapped lbw by Stephen Parry just five balls later, Durham had slumped from 105/2 to 119/5 in 2.4 overs.
Gordon Muchall made a good 21 from 22 balls but the wickets continued to tumble for the Jets. Scott Borthwick was stumped by Davies off the bowling of Lilley before Muchall hit Edwards straight at Bailey at extra cover. That left Durham 142/7. They lost their last three wickets for just 13 runs. John Hastings had his stumps rearranged by Bailey and in the final over Usman Arshad was caught at cow corner by Prince off Edwards and Davies ran out Jennings to wrap up the innings. Lilley was the pick of the bowling with 4-0-18-2. Having won the toss, Durham fell two balls short of their overs and posted a disappointing 155.
Lancashire’s chase suffered an early setback when Liam Livingstone was run out by Hastings in the second over for just two, but Prince guided Lancashire to 32/1 after four overs.
Karl Brown went for a scratchy 8 (11) when he was bowled by an Arshad slower ball. Lancashire were 38/2 after five needing 118 from 90 balls.
The next four overs went for just 16 runs and last weeks match-winner Steven Croft also departed for just five when Borthwick had him caught in the deep by Chris Rushworth. At the halfway stage of their innings, Lancashire were under pressure at 62/3 and needed 94 from 60 balls.
Prince was still there on 41 and going strong. He soon brought up his 50 off 34 balls and by the end of the 14th over had pushed on to 63 from 41 balls – guiding his side to 97/3. They required 59 from 36 balls with South African pairing Prince and Alviro Petersen at the crease.
Five runs off the next over left the Lightning needing 54 from the last five overs. Pringle broke the partnership by bowling Petersen, who struggled to 20 (24) and Lancashire needed 47 off the last 24 balls.
Alex Davies’ arrival at the crease brought fresh impetus and he hit two improvised strokes past the keeper for boundaries. From there, it all went to pieces for Lancashire. Davies was run out for 14 with the last ball of the 18th over. That triggered the collapse. Prince was also run out for a superb 51-ball 78 before Jordan Clark and Arron Lilley were caught in the deep off consecutive Hastings deliveries. They were 135-8, needing 20 off the last over. Arshad had Bailey caught again with the next delivery to complete a remarkable collapse.
Durham make it two wins from two and seal a first T20 win over Lancashire in their last eight meetings. The margin of victory was 16 runs in the end and a target that seemed extremely gettable had proved to be anything but.