Lancashire cruised to the simplest of T20 victories over Northants at Old Trafford as a career-best knock from Alex Davies guided the Lightning to their target following a fine display from their bowlers.
Northants were restricted to 123-9 from their 20 overs and it was a routine chase for Lancashire, losing just two wickets and winning with 23 balls to spare.
It’s two wins from three now for the Lightning and three successive defeats for Northants to start their Vitality Blast campaign.
Northants needed early inroads, defending such a low total and they got one. Liam Livingstone was dropped on the boundary by Graeme White but fell a couple of balls later – top-edging to keeper Ricardo Vasconcelos off the bowling of Seekkuge Prasanna.
At 2-1, Northants had hope but Arron Lilley set about wrestling back momentum with a quick-fire 23 from 14 balls before falling to White. Lancashire posted 46-2 from their powerplay, keeping themselves ahead of the rate.
But it was the partnership for the third wicket that helped Lancashire cruise to the easiest of victories. Davies was the standout, producing a blend of aggressive strokes with excellent game management.
After notching his maiden T20 half-century in victory at Derbyshire on Friday, he followed up with another and a career-best 64*. His half-century came from just 36 balls and included six fours and one six.
Alongside Keaton Jennings, the pair never looked troubled by a Northants attack who appeared to realise the game was beyond them from a very early stage of the run-chase. Their partnership was unbroken on 88 when victory came with 3.5 overs to spare.
Northants’ innings was one that started brightly and tailed off horribly. Their powerplay was strong, despite the early loss of the in-form Ben Duckett for just 10.
Richard Levi set about bludgeoning the Lancashire bowlers to all parts of Old Trafford, taking a particular shine to the leg-side boundary as he made his way to 40 from 20 balls. But he fell with the next and final ball of the powerplay to a sensational caught and bowled from Jordan Clark – grabbing one that was blasted back at him.
It was a wicket that shifted the momentum as Northants slumped from 62-2 after those six overs to their total of 123-9 at the end of their innings.
Levi’s wicket was the first of three to fall in the space of 11 balls for just six runs. Spin began to do the damage for the Lightning as Matthew Parkinson removed Josh Cobb for 12 and Stephen Parry picked up Ricardo Vasconcelos who hammered the ball straight at Keaton Jennings at mid-wicket.
That left the Steelbacks 68-4 and the wickets continued to fall with great regularity. Lancashire’s catching was particularly impressive as Stephen Croft took two and Liam Livingstone another to reduce the visitors to 108-7.
But the catch of the day prize went to Arron Lilley, pouching one right on the boundary egde at deep mid-wicket to dismiss the powerful Rory Kleinveldt for 10. Brett Hutton fell in the final over and Northants were unable to scramble many runs from it, finishing 123-9 from their 20 overs.
Lancashire’s spinners took 6-65 from their 13 overs, with Livingstone, Parry and Parkinson all taking two wickets – Parkinson conceding no boundaries and just 14 runs in four overs.