What threatened to be a disastrous Lancashire Lightning debut for New Zealander Mitchell McClenaghan turned into a triumph as the Red Rose men clinched a nine-run win in their opening Friends Life t20 North Group fixture against Durham Dynamos at the Emirates Durham ICG.
The left-arm seamer began with a wide and conceded 21 in two overs as Durham raced to 53 without loss in the sixth over in reply to 165 for three.
Then both openers fell in successive balls and the momentum vanished, but Ben Stokes picked it up again and when McClenaghan returned he drove the first ball over long-on for six.
At that point Durham needed 42 off 23 balls, but McClenaghan derailed them by picking up three wickets, including that of Stokes after making 34 off 26 balls, and Durham finished on 156 for eight.
After rain had fallen until mid-afternoon Lancashire were put in and opener Stephen Moore overcame a scratchy start to make 75 off 58 balls.
He was run out with two balls left when Simon Katich declined a second run to long-off, but the Australian had also played a big part, hitting three leg-side sixes in his unbeaten 43 off 25 balls.
Durham included two young spinners in Ryan Pringle, the only bowler to take a wicket, and 20-year-old left-armer Max Morley, making his senior debut. His first two overs cost only 13 but then Katich got after him and he finished with 0-41.
Excellent death bowling by Stokes and Chris Rushworth restricted Lancashire to 13 off the last two overs and they did not look to have enough as Mark Stoneman and Phil Mustard launched the reply.
Then disaster struck when Mustard played the ball square on the off side and declined the run, only for Stoneman to fail to get back as Steven Croft hit the stumps.
Mustard tried to turn Glen Chapple’s next ball to leg and gloved it to wicketkeeper Gareth Cross.
Paul Collingwood spent 22 balls making 19 before falling lbw when trying to pull left-arm spinner Stephen Parry.
Durham needed 72 off the last six overs and Stokes kept them on target, hitting three sixes. But his departure left the rest with too much to do as McClenaghan finished with 3-35.