Graeme White’s 6-37 spun Northamptonshire to a first win in this year’s Royal London One-Day Cup, beating Lancashire by 76 runs after Ben Duckett’s 98 saw them recover to post 287-9 at Wantage Road.
An early collapse had seen the Steelbacks 37-3, but Duckett, alongside Rob Keogh who made 66, shared 137 for the fourth wicket and although Duckett fell two short of a maiden century, his knock had taken Northants to a competitive score on a used pitch.
White then ripped out the heart of the Lancashire batting, dismissing three of the top four batsmen. He returned to finish off the tail, ending with 6-37, the sixth best figures from a Northants bowler in one-day cricket, and best for 11 years, witj Lancashire bowled out for 211.
The win sees Northants get up and running in the North Group, having falling just short in a heroic effort chasing 446 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Monday.
Despite defeat, a highest ever total of 425 will have seen Alex Wakely’s men take confidence from getting so close and although the run fest wasn’t quite at the same level 48 hours on, Duckett’s innings saw Northants post a healthy total, despite losing three early wickets.
Josh Cobb looked in good touch early on as he cracked five boundaries in his 22, but Northants were soon in trouble as he chipped Nathan Buck to midwicket, whilst Adam Rossington and Alex Wakely were also bowled by Buck and Saqib Mahmood respectively to leave the Steelbacks three down one ball into the 11th over.
However Duckett and Keogh rebuilt the innings with a fine partnership, they started slowly, milking the Lancashire change bowlers and then the spin of Stephen Parry and Steven Croft, passing the half-century stand in 65 balls as Northants reached the halfway mark at 107-3.
The pair slowly started to increase the tempo however, Duckett going to a 75-ball half-century, before opening his arms to lift the spin of Parry down the ground for back-to-back boundaries, passing his previous one-day best of 69, whilst Keogh also recorded a career best, previously 61, his own half-century came off 65 balls.
The pair batted for 25 overs, setting the perfect platform for a late innings charge, that Keogh tried to start early but only succeed in hitting Buck, the pick of the Lancashire attack with 3-45, high into the air.
Duckett soon followed, agonisingly close to three figures, bowled via an inside edge of Mahmood, but Steven Crook and Rob Newton made good contributions to take Northants beyond 250, Seekkuge Prasanna putting the cap on the innings with two sixes in a 17-ball 30.
Lancashire needed a record run chase against Northants but lost Alviro Peterson early, dragging Muhammed Azharullah onto his stumps, only for Karl Brown to find his fluency with a flurry of boundaries, leaving the visitors looking well set on 64-1 from 13overs.
However, it was the introduction of Northants’ spin twins, Prasanna and White that turned the contest on its head, Tom Smith attempted to charge the latter’s first ball to be bowled for 14.
Brown reached his half-century, but two balls later slapped White straight to Cobb at mid-on and in the following over Prasanna got the prized wicket of Jos Buttler, the England man chopping on his sixth delivery to depart for just two.
Liam Livingstone clubbed a six and four off Prasanna but then became White’s third victim, smartly stumped by Adam Rossington, the fourth wicket to fall for 31 runs as the visitors slipped to 98-5.
That became 124-6 as captain Croft attempted a single that was never on, run out by Wakely at midwicket, and from then onwards the Lighting’s hopes had gone up in smoke, despite Luke Procter and Jordan Clark staging a recovery with a stand of 54.
The required rate was always rising though as White and Prasanna, with some added overs from Cobb and Keogh, kept things tight, with 110 still required from 14 overs as White returned for his second spell.
Clark and Procter had batted sensibly, but the former decided White had to go and charged his first ball back, missed and was stumped for 17, White claiming six wickets for the first time in his limited-overs career as both Parry and Buck were bowled in successive overs.
Procter completed a defiant half-century, but he was the last man out, bowled by Azharullah as Lancashire were dismissed with more than six overs unused, Northants getting their One-Day Cup campaign up and running.