Cross completes Smith's good work
Gareth Cross smashed a six off the penultimate ball to give Lancashire Lightning a dramatic Friends Provident t20 victory over Warwickshire Bears at Old Trafford.
Despite a half-century from Tom Smith, Lancashire still needed 12 from seven balls chasing the visitors’ 126 for six when the wicketkeeper strode to the middle.
He despatched the first delivery for four and, after Keith Barker conceded just two off the first four balls of the final over, Cross sent the second ball he faced sailing over the boundary to wrap up a five-wicket win and condemn the Bears to only their second North Group defeat.
Lancashire had struggled to chase totals during defeats to Yorkshire Carnegie, Nottinghamshire Outlaws and Leicestershire Foxes and, although Imran Tahir claimed 3-18, they were always up with the rate.
Paul Horton shook off a blow to the chin from Neil Carter to smash a six and a four in three balls off Chris Woakes in the second over.
He and Smith worked the spinners well and put on 48 before Horton was bowled for 23 trying to sweep Tahir in the leg-spinner’s first over.
Tahir then struck with the last ball of his next two overs as Stephen Moore was stumped by Tim Ambrose for three and Steven Croft holed out to Darren Maddy for five.
But Smith kept his head with his fifth score over 40 in seven matches.
He and Simon Katich took Lancashire to the verge of victory before the Australian holed out to Maddy for 17 at the end of the 18th over with 14 still needed.
But when Smith was trapped lbw by Carter off the last ball of the following over, Lancashire were 115 for five and needed Cross’ last-ditch heroics to see them over the line.
Only Jim Troughton had any significant impact with the bat for the Bears, making an unbeaten 42 off 34 balls.
Having decided to bat, they were put under pressure with some tight bowling from Nathan McCullum and Smith - restricting them to just 12 runs off the first three overs.
Sajid Mahmood then struck with the second ball of the fourth over and Katich took the first of three catches as Jonathan Trott went for just four.
Carter and Maddy tried to up the rate, with Maddy hitting McCullum for the only six of the innings.
But spin proved the undoing of the pair as Stephen Parry first bowled Carter for 20 in his first over and then Simon Kerrigan struck twice in two balls.
The 21-year-old got Maddy with his second ball thanks to a great full-length diving catch by Katich at backward point. He then trapped Varun Chopra lbw first ball as Warwickshire slumped to 63 for four.
Croft continued an impressive display in the field for Lancashire as he took a tough catch to dismiss Rikki Clarke off Glen Chapple.
And Katich claimed the last of his victims to get Ambrose off the first ball of the final over, leaving Mahmood with 2-27.