Lancashire see off Northants
Lancashire recorded a comfortable 64-run victory over Northamptonshire in their final Friends Life t20 North Group match and can now look forward to a quarter-final at Sussex next month.
Batting first at Old Trafford, the hosts made 188 for five with Karl Brown and Stephen Croft each scoring 51, and Glen Chapple's bowlers then restricted the Steelbacks to 124 for seven to complete a comprehensive win.
Once again, the Red Rose bowlers were in fine form, not least skipper Chapple, who was playing his first game since June 2.
The 37-year-old took 1-17 from four overs on his return from injury and confirmed his fitness ahead of next week's Roses LV= County Championship match.
At the start of their reply, Northants openers Rob White and Stephen Peters added 35 in six overs, but Chapple and Steven Parry removed both courtesy of athletic catches by Sajid Mahmood and Stephen Moore respectively.
Johan Botha and Alex Wakely overtook the paltry 47 the Steelbacks had managed against Durham 24 hours previously, but even their third-wicket stand of 40 off 29 balls could not drag them back into the contest.
Gary Keedy had Botha caught at long-off by Paul Horton for 18 and Northants reached the halfway point of their innings needing a further 124 to win.
Gareth Cross ran out Wakely for 28 in a low-key second half of the innings which saw Keedy, Junaid Khan and Mahmood claim further wickets as the visitors’ effort petered out. Keedy finished with 2-26.
Earlier, Lancashire had posted their highest t20 total at Old Trafford in 2011, piling up 188 against an attack that was handicapped by a wet ball.
Openers Moore and Brown began in brisk fashion, scoring 78 off 7.5 overs before Moore was run out for a 29-ball 41 when he slipped turning for a second run.
Man-of-the-match Brown continued to bat fluently and brought up his second t20 fifty of the season with a casual six over square-leg off Lee Daggett.
Unfortunately for Lightning fans, he chipped his next delivery straight to cover and Horton followed monents later for a second-ball duck.
The home side were then briefly becalmed and Cross holed out at long-on, but Mahmood hit his first and third balls for six as he and Croft upped the tempo.
The fifth-wicket pair added 54 in just 22 frenetic balls before Mahmood was bowled by Daggett in the final over.
Croft completed a 33-ball fifty - his fourth in six t20 matches - off the final delivery of the innings.