Guptill shines but Durham cruise to victory over Lancashire

Guptill shines but Durham cruise to victory over Lancashire

North Group: Durham 151/4 beat Lancashire 149/8 by 6 wickets

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Durham Jets 151-4 (Mustard 46; Wagner 2-25) beat Lancashire 149-8 (Guptill 72; McCarthy 3-23) by six wickets with 30 balls remaining, at Emirates Old Trafford

Durham made light work of Lancashire’s below-par total at Old Trafford to inflict successive defeats on the reigning T20 Blast champions at the start of their title defence.

The Lightning’s 149-8, having been asked to bat first, always looked well short of a competitive total on a good wicket, and Durham’s Phil Mustard instantly set about proving that to be the case.

The veteran keeper-batsman smashed Arron Lilley’s first over for 23, and when his opening partner Mark Stoneman got in on the act, it was quickly 43-0 after two overs. Essentially the game was as good as done.

Mustard passed 3000 T20 career runs during his innings, becoming only the second Englishman to do so behind Kent’s Darren Stevens, but more importantly broke any resistance Lancashire had to offer.

His 18-ball 46 ended with the final ball of the power play, but Durham marched on relentlessly. Graham Clark clobbered two more big sixes in a knock of 36 from 27 balls and the Jets were guided to a comfortable six wicket victory by Michael Richardson and Keaton Jennings with five overs to spare.

It had turned into a chastening evening for the defending champions but it was one that had started very well.

As debuts go, it was a mighty fine one for New Zealander Martin Guptill. Having only arrived at Old Trafford from the IPL on Monday evening, the opener made an instant impact.

He was a class above anything else Lancashire delivered and 72 from 46 balls carried the Lightning innings. In fact, of the hosts’ 15 boundaries, 11 of them came from the bat of Guptill.

After a patient start, the opener showed all the talent that has made him one of the worlds top limited overs batsmen. He scored runs all around the ground, including a huge hit to the longest part of the ground to register the first six of the innings.

Despite losing Alviro Petersen and Karl Brown in successive balls of the third over, Lancashire posted an impressive power play score of 57-3. Jos Buttler showed glimpses of his talent but was also back in the dugout by the end of the sixth over having added just 10 to the total.

That left Guptill, who had 37 from 20 balls at that stage, as the mainstay of the innings. In truth it was a solo effort as he received precious little assistance from the other end. His 50 came up from 34 balls and included eight fours.

When Scott Borthwick caught Guptil in the deep, in the 13th over, Lancashire were 106-4. From there on in, it was all Durham as the hosts crumbled.

The 17th over saw three wickets fall. Skipper Steven Croft fell for 21, which took 24 balls. Alex Davies was next to go having played a dismal innings which saw him notch just 6 from 14 balls before Arron Lilley was run out. Now 121-7, Durham were rampant.

It perhaps says it all that Lancashire hit no boundaries between the Guptill six in the 12th over and Neil Wagner’s maximum in the 18th. They had firmly hit the buffers and ultimately scratched their way to 149-8, which had never looked like being enough.

Durham were impressive with the ball. Usman Arshad took 3-30, while Barry McCarthy took 3-23 in just his second T20 game.

Lancashire skipper Steven Croft was disappointed with their performance and criticised a lack of fight.

“The most disappointing thing is the manner of the loss – there was no scrap and fight,” Croft said.

“Today was clearly not good enough. We need to start fast next week, we all have to do it, all eleven. Last year we picked it up towards the end but ideally we didn’t want to be in that situation again.

“149 was always going to be tough, defending that short boundary. It’s something we have to address and get right for next week.

“Very disappointing evening to be polite. There was no fight from us really. We were short with the bat and started badly with the ball. You’re not going to win too many games like that.”

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