Croft and Brown team up for Lancashire
Lancashire revived their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Friends Life t20 with a convincing 26-run win against Durham at Old Trafford.
Batting first, Lancashire made 161 for five, with stand-in captain Steven Croft and Karl Brown each scoring 51 off 36 balls, before restricting Durham to 135 for nine in reply.
Victory saw Lancashire move to within a point of fourth-placed Durham in the North Group and gain some revenge for their trouncing at the Emirates Durham ICG a week ago.
Durham's bid to overhaul Lancashire's total got off to a poor start as they lost both Phil Mustard and Ian Blackwell inside three overs.
Junaid Khan bowled Paul Collingwood round his legs for three and the visitors' fortunes declined further as Stephen Parry and Gary Keedy took two wickets apiece to leave them floundering on 68 for seven in the 12th over.
Scott Borthwick and Liam Plunkett mounted a revival with a 46-run eighth-wicket stand, and Lancashire were starting to count the cost of long-on Tom Smith dropping Borthwick off Parry when the left-hander had made 20.
Durham needed 50 runs off the final three overs, but Junaid ran out Borthwick for 30 and, despite Plunkett clubbing Sajid Mahmood for two sixes in the 19th over, they fell well short. Plunkett was run out for 41 off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Keedy finished with an impressive 2-17 and Parry 2-27, but Pakistani left-arm seamer Junaid was the pick of the attack as he took 2-20 on his Old Trafford debut.
Lancashire's innings got off to a poor start when opener Stephen Moore played on to Mitch Claydon for seven.
However, Smith and Croft staged a recovery with a careful second-wicket partnership of 37 before Smith was caught by namesake Will at long-on off Gareth Breese for 22.
Lancashire then moved up through the gears as Brown and Croft shared a thrilling 78-run partnership in 8.2 overs.
Durham's bowling and fielding became ragged and Brown and Croft capitalised on any errors, hitting two sixes apiece.
Croft eventually perished when he miscued Collingwood to Breese at cover, but Brown, who had benefited from a missed stumping by Mustard on seven, carried on to complete a maiden Twenty20 half-century before he was run out.
Mahmood and Farveez Maharoof took 14 runs off the last over, bowled by Claydon, to help Lancashire set what proved to be a winning total.