Saqib Mahmood’s figures of 5-14 helped Lancashire to a dominant One-Day Cup victory over Leicestershire at Emirates Old Trafford.
The 22-year-old, whose 6-37 was the main contribution to his team’s triumph over Northamptonshire in their last outing, became the first Lancashire player to take five wickets in successive List-A matches. His efforts condemned Leicestershire to a fifth defeat in this year’s competition as Lancashire won by nine-wickets.
A second-wicket partnership of 67 between Haseeb Hameed and Steven Croft meaning a target of 81 was chased down with ease.
It was a match that Lancashire never looked like losing from the moment Mahmood trapped Mark Cosgrove LBW in the fourth over.
Former Lancashire batsmen Paul Horton was his next victim, the Leicestershire captain offering a simple catch to Keaton Jennings at slip. This before Colin Ackermann was comprehensively bowled to leave the Foxes 27-3.
Harry Dearden had at least offered some resistance to the sprightly Mahmood, but he soon perished to the youngster, the second man to be caught by Jennings.
Incredibly, Mahmood’s first six overs had yielded four wickets for just eight runs, with the Leicestershire batsmen all at sea against his quick and accurate bowling.
Liam Hurt, who replaced the returning James Anderson in the bowling attack, then got in on the act, having Lewis Hill and Arron Lilley caught behind by Dane Vilas in successive overs. Lilley was disappointed to be given out with it unclear whether his glance down the leg-side had actually hit his bat.
That left Leicestershire 46-6 and, in reality, their hopes of victory were over.
Things did not get any easier for the visitors as the returning Anderson removed Callum Parkinson for his solitary wicket of the day, and Dieter Klein was dismissed for a duck by Glenn Maxwell. Mahmood was brought back and completed his five-wicket haul, to leave Paul Nixon’s side nine down, Anderson taking a fabulous catch at mid-on.
The final pair of Chris Wright and Gavin Griffiths did show some fight, batting for nine overs. Unfortunately for Leicestershire, they had only added 12 runs by the time Rob Jones bowled Griffiths, a painstaking 37 over innings ending at 80-all-out.
In reply, Lancashire rarely looked troubled. Jennings slapped a Klein delivery to Cosgrove at cover but, other than that, it was a precession to victory for the Red Rose.
Croft’s innings of 37 not out included the one and only six of the day, and Hameed continued his good start to the season with 29.
In the end, it took just 19 overs for Lancashire to complete the win, a third in a row in this competition. They head to Durham on Tuesday with their qualification hopes still on.
After the win, Mahmood said: “It’s nice to pick where we left off on Wednesday and get another win.
“The games come thick and fast now and we hope to take that into Tuesday’s game at Durham now. When you’ve had a few days off you can lose a bit of rhythm but this morning it just felt like we hadn’t been gone anywhere.”
For Leicestershire, this match, along with their performances in this tournament so far, are something they will quickly want to forget.