Simply put, this was one of the most incredible matches of T20 cricket you’ll ever see.
Reduced to 14 overs a side due to the earlier rain, it delivered some of the most incredible batting these Roses contests has ever produced, with Lancashire edging an absolute thriller by one run with the final ball of the match.
It was a contest that wowed and captivated a 22,515 crowd at Old Trafford – a T20 record for matches played outside London excluding Finals Day. Every four and six was cheered to the max; and there were plenty of them to cheer.
Lancashire’s 176-2 from just 14 overs appeared insurmountable and remained so for the vast majority of Yorkshire’s chase.
But Adam Lyth’s fireworks at the top of the order – reaching 50 from just 20 balls – gave the Vikings a platform to have half a chance at the back end of the chase.
He departed for 60 from 26 balls and his opening partner David Willey never really got going – falling for 20 from 19 deliveries. That left Yorkshire 90-2 and when they required 87 from just 36 balls it appeared Lancashire’s game.
But Joe Root, returning after back-to-back ODI centuries for England, smashed a half-century from just 21 balls as Yorkshire continued to pepper the boundary at will.
He found assistance from Liam Plunkett, whose six which crashed into the media centre windows certainly caught the eye.
46 needed from 18 became 33 from 12, with Bresnan now in alongside Root after Jordan Clark bowled Plunkett for 19.
A superb penultimate over gave the Vikings every chance, requiring 17 from the last over. Root blasted them to an equation of five from two balls and one felt they were almost there.
But 25-year-old Toby Lester, in just his fifth T20 game, held his nerve to concede just four as Lancashire clinched a one-run win with the final ball – sending Old Trafford crazy!
Earlier, Lancashire’s assault on their 14-over assignment was difficult to accurately put into words. The power, the precision and the sheer destruction of the way their batsmen launched into Yorkshire’s attack was quite spectacular to watch.
It began with Liam Livingstone, whose aggression was clear from ball one. But he received an early let off as he skied one on four but Steven Patterson, Kane Williamson and Adam Lyth all looked at each other and let the ball drop.
The Lancashire skipper made the most of his chance. He belted two sixes and a four from the second over, bowled by Tim Bresnan and was ably assisted by the returning Jos Buttler – who launched a massive six into the commentary box windows on the second floor of the Old Trafford media centre.
Buttler departed for just 16, though, run out brilliantly by Liam Plunkett in a mix-up with Livingstone, Lancashire now 55-1 after 4.5 overs.
Unperturbed, Livingstone ploughed on and blasted six maximums in an innings that lit up the enormous crowd at Old Trafford. He walloped his way to 79 from just 37 balls, with an array of strokes all round the ground and it took a terrific catch from Joe Root to ultimately end his campaign of destruction.
Lancashire were beautifully set though on 120-2 after 9.3 overs. Arron Lilley’s selection at number three has raised eyebrows, but he proved his worth in this one. He continued the approach laid down by the opening pair and found the boundary with great regularity.
Both he and new partner Jordan Clark smashed Adil Rashid into the top tier of B stand at Old Trafford – taking 19 from the England spinner’s third over. His three cost 44 runs and yielded no wickets.
Clark’s huge hit into the pavilion in the final over took Lancashire to 176-2 from their 14 overs. They had equalled their highest ever number of sixes in a T20 game – despite batting six overs less than normal!
Lancashire remain top of the North Group, having now won five in a row.
This was a match that laughed in the face of the supposed ills of T20 cricket. A packed crowd plus a lineup jam-packed with world-class talent delivered a pulsating contest.
The only downside for Lancashire was the omission of Steven Croft, ending his run of not having missed a T20 game for the Lightning since his debut in 2006. He ends that run on 148 matches – 11 short of breaking the worldwide record of consecutive appearances for one side held by Suresh Raina.
But Croft will have watched with the rest of us, jaws open in awe of what we witnessed. Log this one down as one of the greatest Roses clashes ever.