Lancashire keep semi-final hopes alive
Lancashire Lightning boosted their hopes of reaching the Yorkshire Bank 40 semi-finals for the second year running with a resounding six-wicket win over Derbyshire Falcons at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Lightning returned to the competition following a break for the Friend's Life t20 targeting four wins from their last four Group B matches to give them a chance of progressing.
And they got off to a good start after comfortably chasing down 191 to record a fourth successive victory in the 40-over format, with former South Africa international Ashwell Prince top-scoring courtesy of an unbeaten 80 off 75 balls.
Off-spinner Arron Lilley and ex-England seamer Kabir Ali took four wickets apiece to help restrict Derbyshire to 190 for nine, although they had been tottering on 92 for six after 25 overs.
The visitors were boosted by career bests of 78 and 40 from captain Wayne Madsen and David Wainwright respectively, who shared 80 in 12.3 overs for the seventh wicket.
Lilley took four for 30 from his first seven overs in this competition, despite debuting at the back end of last season. Ali's four for 37 from eight were his best figures since August 2007 when playing for Worcestershire.
The early damage was done by Lilley as he took four of the first six wickets, including Alex Hughes and Tom Poynton in the space of three balls in the 25th over, before Ali returned at the death to take two of his scalps in the last over.
Madsen benefited from being dropped on 12 by Ali from mid-on after a lack of communication with sub-fielder Karl Brown running around from mid-off. Ali got his hands on the ball bowled by Tom Smith before colliding with his colleague, who was trying to get out of the way.
Madsen hit five fours and a straight six off Steven Croft in his 92-ball innings, which ended when he cut Ali to backward point in the 38th over.
Lancashire openers Stephen Moore and Smith shared 53 in 8.3 overs to get their chase off to an excellent start before both falling to Wes Durston's off-spin.
But despite the loss of Simon Katich and Croft to Madsen and Tim Groenewald later in the chase, Prince's presence at the crease meant the Red Rose were always cruising as he posted a fourth score above 50 in the competition.
Prince hit six fours and two sixes before Jordan Clark finished the match off with two maximums of his own off Hughes' medium pace as Lancashire won with 26 balls to spare.