Yardy steers Sussex home
Sussex maintained the pressure on Group A leaders Somerset with an entertaining Clydesdale Bank 40 win over Lancashire at Old Trafford.
The Sharks won for the second consecutive match as they chased down 245 with four wickets and four balls to spare.
Lancashire’s chances of reaching the semi-finals are all but over after losing five of their eight matches.
With Andrew Flintoff in the home dressing room, the hosts were indebted to 69 off 73 balls from captain Paul Horton, which included five fours, and Kyle Hogg’s unbeaten 36 not 30 balls as they posted a competitive 244 for seven.
James Kirtley took 3-35 from seven overs for the visitors while Michael Yardy, Monty Panesar and Ollie Rayner also struck.
Joe Gatting hit a season’s best 71 off 82 balls for Sussex in reply but it took a fifth-wicket partnership of 44 between Yardy and Andrew Hodd to take their side to the brink.
Captain Yardy, who finished 46 not out off 50 balls, hit the winning runs off Sajid Mahmood in the final over.
Gareth Cross and Horton shared Lancashire’s highest partnership, 40 for the fourth wicket, but the hosts lost wickets at regular intervals on a placid track.
Tom Smith hit a solid 34 off 38 balls at the top of the order before Hogg struck three fours and one six late on. He and Stephen Parry added 33 off the last 21 balls, the former doing the bulk of the scoring.
Sussex openers Ed Joyce and Chris Nash got the chase off to a flyer as they took advantage of some wayward bowling from Daren Powell with the new ball.
The former West Indies fast bowler went for 10 off his first two balls, Nash doing the damage, and his first two overs went for 23.
Nash, however, fell in the third over when he holed out to Karl Brown at deep square-leg off Hogg.
Joyce and Gatting continued the momentum with a second-wicket stand of 63 inside 13 overs. They helped their side to 80 for one after the 12 overs of powerplay, but when Joyce departed in the 15th over Lancashire started to sniff victory.
He dragged the left-arm spin of Parry on to middle stump to depart for 46 before Murray Goodwin chipped to a diving Horton at short cover six overs later.
When Gatting was trapped lbw by Gary Keedy, Sussex were 174 for four in the 30th over, needing 70 off the last 10.
Smith took two late wickets to keep the Lightning interested, including Hodd for 30 off 27 balls, but Yardy’s three fours and a six were vital.
Parry and Smith finished with 2-37 off eight overs and 2-30 off four respectively.
Sussex moved to within two points of Somerset after eight matches but have played two more than their rivals.
Hogg, Smith and Steven Croft were awarded their county caps by Lancashire chairman Michael Cairns before the game.