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Hard work goes to waste for Lancs

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Stephen Moore and Tom Smith’s record opening partnership of 119 proved in vain for Lancashire as unbeaten Nottinghamshire prevailed by eight wickets on the Duckworth/Lewis method in a rain-hit Friends Life t20 encounter at Trent Bridge.

Moore cracked 80 from 58 balls and Smith contributed 56 off 41 to propel the Red Rose to 178 for four from 20 overs on a grim evening in the East Midlands.

Rain then interrupted the hosts’ reply after just one over with the score on seven without loss, and they were left needing a further 42 from 24 deliveries when play eventually resumed.

Michael Lumb’s 22 and an unbeaten eight-ball 21 from Riki Wessels ensured Notts, who now sit top of the North Group, made it home with relative comfort.

Lancashire will consider themselves unfortunate after such an impressive display with the bat and they now face a battle to secure a quarter-final place.

Notts unsurprisingly elected to bowl after drizzle had delayed the start of play, but, with the fielders struggling to keep their footing on a damp outfield, Lancashire made excellent progress through Smith and Moore.

Chris Read & Stephen Moore

Opener Stephen Moore hits out during an impressive innings of 80 for Lancashire, who subsequently fell to defeat at Trent Bridge after rain had left hosts Nottinghamshire with a revised target of 49 in five overs

Smith, who frequently brought his bottom hand into play with a succession of meaty blows through the leg side, received an early let-off on eight when a back-pedalling Alex Hales failed to take a catch at mid-on.

His opening partner took longer to settle, but was soon operating at more than a run-a-ball himself as Nottinghamshire toiled in search of a breakthrough.

A swept single off Samit Patel took Smith to 50 from 39 deliveries, with six fours and a six, in the 13th over and Moore brought up Lancashire’s 100 when he pulled the next ball, a rank full toss, to the midwicket rope.

Smith, continuing to favour the region between mid-on and square-leg, soon collected a second maximum off Patel.

Moore then moved to a half-century of his own with the first of two consecutive edges through the vacant slip region off Steven Mullaney, but only after Chris Read had missed a straightforward stumping chance earlier in the over.

Mullaney finally gained deserved reward when Smith charged down the track and missed with a wild heave to be bowled.

Moore continued on his merry way but finally departed to the final ball of the 18th over, caught at short fine-leg off Andy Carter.

Karl Brown and Gareth Cross fell cheaply, but the in-form Steven Croft boosted Lancashire’s total with an unbeaten 31, made off 15 balls.

Rain was falling by the time Notts began their reply and it soon intensified to bring proceedings to a halt.

When the match restarted, left-arm spinner Stephen Parry had Hales caught at cover in an over yielding nine.

Experienced paceman Yasir Arafat was taken for 18, however, and Lumb hit Smith for a straight six before being caught behind next ball with just nine required off 11.

A fourth four from Wessels took Notts to within two of their target and he soon struck Oliver Newby over the infield to seal victory with two balls unused.

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