Two overs changed the game, was the view of Lancashire captain Liam Livingstone, after losing the first semi-final of Finals Day at Edgbaston.
He delivered one of them, the third of the match which was launched all around the ground by Moeen Ali and cost 23 runs, and Toby Lester’s 18th over was bludgeoned for 27.
In between those onslaughts, Lancashire looked to have dragged themselves firmly into the ascendancy thanks to the spin bowling of Matt Parkinson and Zahir Khan.
After that, Lancashire’s chase of 170 was ultimately unsuccessful, underpinned by a loss of wickets at regular intervals and some superb bowling from Moeen and Pat Brown.
“I think the two overs in our innings were the two that cost us in the game,” Livingstone reflected.
“When you go for 50 runs off two overs it’s obviously not ideal. On a pitch that I don’t think was a 170 pitch. I think it just got away from us a little bit in the end.
“T20 is a funny game, all you need is one mishit down to long on and you can go for three or four (boundaries) off one over. That’s the way T20 goes, I’m sure he’ll (Lester) learn from that and come back better for it.”
Lancashire were handicapped by an injury sustained to their leading death bowler James Faulkner, who left the field and later would bat with a runner.
“Faulkner is one of the best death bowlers in the world and he’s definitely our best death bowler so It’s obviously very disappointing not to have him,” Livingstone said. “But you can’t expect him to bowl when he’s walking on one leg.
“Bit of a shame that happened but we backed our bowlers to do the job, we had enough options we just didn’t quite execute at the right times.”
Matt Parkinson’s 2-23 from his four overs, supported by Zahir’s 1-24 from his spell, had put Lancashire firmly on top before a late assault from Ben Cox got Worcestershire up to a strong total.
Leg-spinner Parkinson has been a star man throughout the competition and now has 25 wickets. Livingstone believes international honours will follow eventually.
“Parky has been a very reliable bowler for us in this competition. I thought him and Zahir were outstanding again, they have been all year and it’s something that we pride ourselves on.
“They’ve delivered again today. Pretty disappointing to let them two down.
“It’s not for me to say, I think he’s a good enough bowler to play higher than domestic cricket, whether that’s this year or in future years, I’m sure at some point he will play international cricket.”
And the Lancashire captain was similarly impressed by Worcestershire Pat Brown, who took 4-21 including three wickets in the penultimate over. Brown is the leading wicket-taker in the competition.
“The way Pat Brown bowled, trying to read his variations is pretty tough and I think he’s got a great method that’s worked for him and there’s a reason he’s right up there in the wicket taking.
“T20 cricket is like that, we were just outplayed on the day.”
— Alex Davies (@aldavies23) September 15, 2018
It caps a dismal week for Lancashire, following a Roses defeat which all-but condemns them to relegation from Division One, after another poor Royal London One-Day Cup campaign earlier in the season.
Livingstone was reluctant to talk about the season as a whole, but believes the Blast campaign has been a real positive.
“I think it has been (a campaign of progression), we’ve played some good cricket.
“We’ve had some hiccoughs here and there but we’ve come back from them really strongly. Throughout the campaign I’ve been really pleased and really proud of the way the lads played.
“It’s obviously a shame to fall at the hurdle we have today. T20 cricket is a funny game. It only takes one person to come off and change a game. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of that today.
“T20 cricket has been a real positive for us, we’ve played the way I wanted us to play, we’ve been very brave at times and played some attacking cricket. That’s what we set out to do at the start of the competition.”